Monthly Archives: October 2013

Storytelling

Summary from Eric Barker:

Being a great storyteller has immense value across five key areas of your life. Here’s the research behind how the art of storytelling can benefit you — and how you can get better at it.

RELATIONSHIP

What does John Gottman think is the best diagnostic tool for checking how good a relationship is?   Ask them to tell their story.

I’ve  found 94 percent of the time that couples who put a positive spin on their marriage’s history are likely to have a happy future as well. When happy memories are distorted, it’s a sign that the marriage needs help. Either they emphasize their good times and make light of the rough spots, or they accentuate their failures and not their successes. Likewise, they either underscore their partner’s positive traits in favor of their more annoying characteristics (cherishing), or they do the opposite (trashing). Here’s more on the importance of your relationship story.

CAREER

In the Harvard Business Review, Herminia Ibarra and Kent Lineback give advice on crafting a good resume.

Bullet points of achievements are lovely, yes, but the key part of a resume that has impact is the story you make it tell. The process of putting together a resume is as valuable as the product because it entails drafting your story. Everything in the resume must point to one goal — which, of course, is the climax of the story you’re telling.

Here’s more on storytelling in your career.

COMMUNICATION

Think of your recent conversations. The primary way we communicate is through stories.

Sure, facts and statistics are great. But when people hear presentations what do they remember? The stories. When students are asked to recall the speeches, 63 percent remember the stories. Only 5 percent remember any individual statistic.

Here’s more on communicating memorably

PARENTING

Who is most likely to say “Tell me a story”? Children. Research shows that telling stories kids can relate to may dramatically increase their desire to learn. Students told a story about a high math achiever who shared their birthday persevered 65% longer on hard problems during a math test. 

HAPPINESS AND MEANING

Whether it’s formal religion or just your own idea of life, meaning comes from the stories you tell yourself about what happens every day. Those stories make up a big part of whether or not you are happy.

According to the psychologist Michele Crossley, depression frequently stems from an “incoherent story,” an “inadequate narrative account of oneself,” or “a life story gone awry.” Psychotherapy helps unhappy people set their life stories straight; it literally gives them a story they can live with. And it works. For better or worse, you become the stories you tell yourself — so choose wisely the narratives that shape your life.

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