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The Stories in our Head

This morning I read a good blog article by Garr Reynolds summarizing a TED talk by Andrew Stanton on storytelling. It emphasized that humans connect through stories to form our emotional bonds. In marketing, it’s about understanding the stories of your audience and creating a story they can connect with.

Stories run our lives but most of us aren’t thinking about it. That kid that made fun of you in elementary school? What story about you or life in general did you create when that happened? That you aren’t as good others? Or perhaps that next time you’ll make sure no one can hurt you again? Twenty or more years later, are you still living in that story?

Some stories propel us forward (I am loved, I have valuable contributions) and other stories cripple us (I will probably fail, I’ll look stupid).  Those stories can make or break our relationships, work, recreation, health—everything that’s important to us.  I wonder how many good businesses fail because of the stories in people’s heads?

How do you know which stories are hurting your life? First of all, if there’s a strong negative emotional connection to an event in today’s life, quite likely it’s triggering the stories inside you. See! I knew that would happen. No one ever comes through for me.  Or why do I always get the short end of the stick? I’m the good guy!  Once you find the source of that story, you can leave it there and see today’s event for what it is. That person said/did whatever. That’s all. Once you have the story in perspective, you can move forward and continue to do the great work you’re here to do.

Image by: Alejandro Linares Garcia