Stories, everywhere. Ever since we are born, we are surrounded by them. They are stronger than facts and they shape the world, cause they shape the perception we have on it. They shape the perception we have on ourselves and on our road going forward. In a way, going forward always means going in circle, until we break it and we enter a new one,with a new story and a new pattern to brake.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly mentions a 10,000 hours rule, stating that practicing that amount of time would make one proficient in whatever activity one chooses to improve at. However, the original publishers of the article have made the point, after their study became famous due to Gladwell’s book, that the number and this point were only half the truth behind what the study really wanted to know. They then state the importance of deliberate practicing and training the right way.
„If you practice something for a few hundred hours, you will almost certainly see great improvement … but you have only scratched the surface.
You can keep going and going and going, getting better and better and better. How much you improve is up to you.” (Source)
So back to stories. This example I gave you before shows, on one hand, that Gladwell is a skilled storyteller – that is, if you ever came to doubt this, after reading his book or watching his TED talk. On the other hand, it also shows the importance of deliberate practice, with the focus on deliberate, which in this case means with a clear goal in mind.
Back to the story: this is, in my opinion, the point where the story you tell to yourself becomes more important. If you have a clear goal, your innate creativity will somehow help you break the habits and create new ones, the ones that will help you get the story further and match it to the one you have in your mind. This is not magic. I can search for facts to back this up, but you and me are both emotional beings and I choose not to do that now. Just let that sink and try using a story every time you want to communicate something.
Try that when talking to your boss about a raise. Try it when writing a speech. Try it every time you’d like to convey a message. Do it with purpose and back it up with work, hard work.
If I think about the days when I used to coach speakers for TedX Brasov, I remember every single one of them had a story to tell, but some where not that aware of what the story was. Through talking to them and getting to know them better, the story got out, shaped the speech and made itself clear for the audience as well.
This is the thing with stories: somehow, they are there all the time, it’s a matter of choice and deliberate search to get them out there.