Stories Are Us

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we speak, and about how this changes our outlook, and so our future. To go further with this, I would like to consider how important it is for us to strategically pull our words together to craft the stories that have the capacity to open up the deepest passions of our heart. In fact, I would like to suggest that, from before we can even remember, we have been crafting a story that has lead each one of us to the things that we are the most passionate about today.  You have come here, to this point in your life,with your story, and you carry it around with you everywhere you go. You have stories about your childhood and family, your experiences in school and work, your friendships and the events of your life. You also have stories about the way that certain things have affected you, and how you have become the person you are today. Each of you have a series of stories explain how you came to the work you do now. What drew you to it? Why does it suit you? And how do you continue to pour yourself into it every single day?

lionI have learned that our stories are more than just coffee conversations. Our stories are where the most powerful part of our identity is formed and held.  Research shows that it is in our stories that we come to understand ourselves and others, that we interact with our world, and that we gather the information we use to move forward in our lives. Our stories are like our own personalised meaning generators. We throw all of our experiences, thoughts, feelings and knowledge into our stories, and The nature of the story we construct establishes our position in any given moment. Our narrative defines our capacity to believe, to respond, to change, to grow.

Altruism has been proven to promote well being across all social groupings, worldwide, so I am convinced that our deepest passions can be activated most by living a life of selfless service. But, this lifestyle of selfless generosity is the gift that keeps on giving because, just like the oversized T-shirts my mum used to buy me when I was a child, there is always more room to grow into this mindset. If we make sense of our lives through story, and we all want to enjoy those well-being spoils of altruism, then it makes sense that we need to become experts at crafting the sorts of stories that maximise our current capacity for selfless service. Our ability to sustain this sort of lifestyle relies on us having strong stories. These sorts of stories establish an unshakeable sense of identity which then becomes our offering to the world, and fans the flame of our purpose into a passion that simply can’t be put out.

This is not something we do by accident though. We gotta work at it. I have learned from experience that the African proverb is true:

If the lion doesn’t tell his story, then the hunter will

Our stories are not only our tool of survival; they are our tool for growth and for overcoming. Indeed, they are the very substance of our life itself.