Last month we focused on how learning through others helps us to think critically instead of judge others. We also briefly touched on the fact that story is a way to help us better understand and learn from others. (If you haven’t already, you can take a quick read here, before you dive into today’s post.) Today we’ll dig deeper into the POWER OF STORY! Here, we’ll understand how and why story helps us to better understand and relate to each other as human beings. It’s fascinating!
Our brains are wired for story. You might have heard it before, but do you know why our brains are wired this way?
Kendall Haven, a story researcher and master storyteller, does. First, he says, “For over 150,000 years, story and storytelling have dominated human interaction and communication, which has evolutionarily rewired the human brain to think in specific story terms.” Because story has been such an essential part of our communication for thousands of years, our brains are literally wired to make sense of incoming information through story!
According to Haven, stories allow us to “transport” ourselves into the story via the setting, events, and characters. And as we get more and more engaged in the story, we start to emotionally connect with the story. Essentially, we begin to feel the same emotions as the characters, which can even lead us to tap into empathy. So Cool! Does this happen to you? It’s certainly happened to me many times over!
Now that we understand a bit of the science behind why story makes so much sense to our brains, let’s dig into a few other ways story helps us understand and relate to each other.
1.) Impart new perspectives
Through story, we’re able to impart new perspectives, allowing others to see the world from a point of view different from their own. Story allows us to understand new experiences we haven’t experienced for ourselves, but also to perhaps even see things differently about experiences we’ve already had. Do you ever find yourself reflecting on past situations once you’ve understood a new perspective? I certainly have!
2.) The next best thing
Wouldn't it be nice to expand your worldview without having to experience everything first-hand? Experiencing someone else’s story is the next best thing to experiencing it ourselves. And thank goodness for that! There’s a lot of things about our lives we wouldn’t want others to have to relive, right? Thankfully, we can learn from each other’s experience, and story helps us do that in a way that taps into our hearts and brains!
3.) Foster transformation
Because story helps us feel, tap into empathy, and see new perspectives, we can begin to understand others in the same way they understand themselves. We can see how they view the world around them and feel what it feels like to be them in a particular situation - without having to be them or experience what they’ve experienced! In this way, we are able to learn, grow, and transform personally through a simple, but powerful mechanism called story.
We’re hardwired for it, and it serves us well! We’re able to learn and see new perspectives about the world around us, connect through our emotions, experience new things without having to experience them ourselves, and transform personally. It’s a much more powerful tool than I ever thought before I became immersed in the world of story!
How have you experienced the power of story?
Have a story to tell, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to tell it?
Knowing the power of story, you might feel a slight nudge to share one of your own stories. But are you ready to tell it?
Grab my free Storytelling Checklist! It walks you through a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether you’re ready to tell your story for the first time. Asking these questions will give you the clarity and confidence you need to get moving and tell your story!
Are you ready to tell your story?
Still not sure if you’re ready to tell your story?
Hop on my calendar for a free 15 minute chat! I’ll walk you through questions and provide tips to help you determine if you’re ready to use your story for purpose in others’ lives!