The Power of Stories

Stories are how we change things. We can’t make progress without them. We think in narrative structures all the time. Stories reinforce our beliefs about who we are and who it’s possible for us to become. They can inspire us, lift us, give us new perspectives. They impact on how we think, feel and act.

Our brains are hardwired for stories. Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist, studied myths from around the world and discovered the constant repetition of themes such as the hero’s journey, revealing the universal and eternal truths about mankind and the power of our relationship with stories. 
 
The myths, legends, folk and fairy tales that every culture has left behind are all tapped from the essence of human experience. Every mission and every invention began with a story, with someone imagining something she or he could not yet see.

Why Stories Work

In most businesses, analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities are expected and rewarded. Most people spend most of their time using the analytical part of their brain. However, relying only on this way of thinking and talking can make us become stuck in our heads, moving round and round the same problem without reprieve. Stories and fairy tales connect us with the emotional and intuitive part of our brain. This can lift us out of the familiar and open new perspectives to us.

Once a story has our attention, our subconscious is activated, and alpha waves are stimulated. As feelgood hormones such as serotonin and endorphins are released, making us relaxed, we start to think in a more internal way. 

New understanding

Metaphors and stories  often bypass the more analytic thinking mind, stimulates our imagination and directly bring out that which is less consciously understood, a ‘different kind of knowing.’
They bring new understanding up to the surface of our lives, by reaching beneath the surface of our experience – often holding a deeper truth or message that may be hidden or somewhat submerged. 

Tools for Transformation

Metaphors and stories stimulate our imagination and directly bring out that which is less consciously understood, a ‘different kind of knowing.’ They reach beneath the surface of our experience to where often deeper truths or messages may be hidden. 
 
They bring new understanding up to the surface of our lives. 
 
Fairy tales communicate deep truths and morals with joy, delight and wonder, while still delving into the human soul. Fairy tales help us imagine a world outside our own. They help us imagine a future that does not yet exist. This other world of the imagination is usually constructed out of deep human longing.

As a tool for transformation, stories can lift us up and inspire us, give us a new perspective or roadmap of where we are, where we are going and what we are capable of. If others have overcome their struggles, their dark night, and found their way, you can do too!





Source:
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell
The Right Story: A Brief Guide to changing the World, Bernadette Jiwa