the stories we tell ourselves (and then tell each other)

16 each of us

“God made Man because He loves stories.”*

So begins Jonathan Gottschall’s book The Storytelling Animal in which he explores Homo fictus (fiction man).  Stories are all-pervading to Human life, we could not function, even live, without them.

‘Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.’*

I loves this.  Humans are enigmatic creatures: we are not our minds.  Like a horse, sometimes ridden and steered, but often running and roaming without us – whoever “us” is.

Our stories make sense of this randomness.

My joy is to awaken people to the stories they’re lives are showing they should live.  I admit, this is the story I tell myself but, strangely and oddly, it works.  We tell histories to understand our past, and we science-fictionally imagine the future in order choose a path and to understand our present – stories.

Those who lead us into the future, at their best, are people who tell a story within which others are able to identify and live their stories in a way which allows each and every one to flourish, to thrive.

‘Leaders must look for meaning within the chaos.  They must create compelling narratives, which give context and meaning to human existence, in which others can see themselves fitting and belonging and becoming the people they desire.’**

We tell stories of preferred futures by defining reality, discerning meaning, and discovering new ways forward.  Stories change how things can be, interrupting lines of expectation, possibility, and probability for something better.

Is the story you find yourself in the one you’ve chosen for your passions and talents and experiences and relationships and hopes and values?

Or will you tell yourself a different story?

(*Elie Wiesel, quoted in Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal.)
(**Alex McManus in Makers of Fire.)


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