Story telling is the key to human cooperation.
Apes and other animals can’t grasp stories and therefore can’t be motivated towards projects larger than their instincts.
To us, everything is a story.
Religion is a story about life, about what we ought to do with our time on this earth, and what happens to our consciousness after that time ends.
Love is a story about mutual commitment to each other’s happiness: a shared story
Money is a story we tell each other about the value of paper.
Our government is a story we wrote collectively about the ideal way to organize and protect human interests.
Our fears are stories we tell ourselves about what could go wrong.
Our hopes are stories about what could go right.
We use stories to instruct our children about values, about right and wrong.
Politicians and media use stories and narratives with intention, to manipulate.
Wars are fought because of the stories we tell about each other’s intentions.
A good painting tells a story,
A good song tells a story,
And even uninteresting art can be improved by an interesting story.
Storytelling is the mother of all art.
Storytelling is intrinsic to our psychology and shines out from the earliest stages of human childhood development:
Show a child a tool they’ve never seen before, and they’ll tell you a story about its use.
Ask them to draw a picture and they’ll tell the story to accompany the sketch.
Ask them about almost anything, like their favorite stuffed animal and they’ll tell you a story about its wants and intentions.
We constantly tell ourselves stories about other people’s intentions.
Many find that the most desirable trait in the opposite sex, or in a partner is a sense of humor. Being funny is in essence, the ability to tell certain kinds of stories.
I’ve found that the best company to have, is that of a person who can tell a good story, and I don’t just mean a campfire-fictional story, but a story about their day; about something from a past experience or about what might happen tomorrow; even an improv story about what that weird guy in the checkout line was buying. If you know someone who is fun to be around, you will probably find upon inspection, that at the heart of their allure, is a knack for telling a good story.
Having a conversation with someone who is bad at telling stories is painful; as if being held hostage by social politeness, while being waterboarded by words.
So it seems we are all authors, by and by we are our own audience too.
Successful, motivated people tell themselves stories about their future triumphs.
Depression makes us tell ourselves stories about how we’ll fail.
Sometimes our actions in the world don’t align with the stories we tell about them. This is considered a character flaw. It’s bad storytelling. We say actions speak louder than words, but that’s not always true subjectively. Sometimes the words in our mind are louder than the memories of actions. Yet, who you are subjectively depends a lot on the the kind of stories you tell yourself. And who you are objectively depends a lot on the actions born of those stories.
These little internal narratives and stories matter. The stories we tell ourselves today, will effect the stories our children have to live in the future.
What kind of story are you going to write today, what kind of story will you write with your life? These are the questions that motivate me.
I want to read a good story
I want to tell a good story
I want to live a good story