The Power of Stories

I want to share with you about how writing your personal story can help you in your life journey.

You’ve probably read a story that was both entertaining and insightful. For me when I was a child of 9 (20 years ago!) it was David & Golliath. When you discover stories that connect with you personally, you hold them and their lessons in your heart for your entire lives.

For centuries, people have told short stories to enlighten and inspire others, and counting the stories that Jesus and others have told might take a life time. In fact, it would probably take several lifetimes to fully integrate the wisdom within those stories. And the reason people continue to tell, and love, short stories is because stories are the most effective way to communicate incredibly powerful ideas.
Plato understood this in 388 BC when he asked the City Fathers to ban story-tellers, and today’s spiritual leaders, political leaders, business leaders, also understand this power and continue the story telling tradition.

Stories are powerful because they mirror the way you naturally think.

Whether you’re consciously aware of this or not, you intuitively think in narrative structures. This could be talking about your day, connecting with a friend, or reflecting on your experiences. In fact, a month-long study of the language patterns of an infant discovered that before going to bed, the infant’s seemingly irrelevant babbling revealed a powerful secret:

Even before she could speak, the infant’s language patterns showed that she was babbling about what she had done that day and was even plan¬ning what she was going to do the following day! Now take a moment to imag¬ine that in your own life – Like that infant, you intu¬itively under¬stood your daily expe¬ri-ences as sto¬ries before you knew the words to com¬mu¬ni¬cate them to others.

As you can see, sto¬ries imprint them¬selves into our brains nat¬u¬rally from your ear¬li¬est years. Sto¬ries are how you under¬stand best, so when you write sto¬ries you directly access the deep¬est parts of your psy¬che and soul. You can reach inside and pull out the sub¬con¬scious imprints that are most valu¬able to your per¬sonal devel¬op¬ment, and then put them on paper for your con¬scious mind to see and work with. This process of bring¬ing your sub¬con¬scious into the con-scious can result in rapid and sig¬nif¬i¬cant per¬sonal transformation.

But the truth is…
Most peo¬ple never try writ¬ing sto¬ries because they don’t think they’re good enough. It’s a clas¬sic para¬dox because with¬out try¬ing they’ll never feel good enough. Hav¬ing fears about writ¬ing is nor¬mal for most authors, it took me too long to really come up with my 1st article and even longer for my 1st book! It is rare to come across a writer with¬out fear. My own fears were only over¬come by actu¬ally writ¬ing… by “being” a writer.

The thing about writ¬ing is that none of us are writ¬ers until we are writ¬ing. “Who” and “what” we are changes from moment to moment. We may iden¬tify with what we do in life; for exam¬ple we may call our¬selves com¬puter engi¬neers, energy heal¬ers, writ¬ers, teach¬ers, or the many other labels we give our¬selves based on what we do.

But we can only asso¬ciate with that label while we are doing the asso¬ci¬ated action!
Think about that for a moment. While dri¬ving a car, are you a writer? No. You’re a dri¬ver. Under¬stand¬ing this dis¬tinc¬tion is imper¬a¬tive to over¬com¬ing a new writer’s most basic objec¬tion: “I’m not a writer! I’ve never even writ¬ten a story!”

And you’re right.
Until you’re writ¬ing, you’re not a writer. So the first piece of advice I offer is to ignore any fear and just start writ¬ing because every sin¬gle fear you might have about writ¬ing is based on your belief that some¬body will judge you.

Read that sen¬tence again. Maybe read it sev¬eral times. After¬wards, chal¬lenge your¬self to find a sin¬gle fear you have about writ¬ing that does not dis¬till down to the fear of judgment.
Also real¬ize that one sim¬ple per¬spec¬tive shift elim¬i¬nates that fear instantly. You see, not all sto¬ries are meant to be read. Some¬times writ¬ing a story is like a jour¬nal and you might write it as your own inter¬nal mono¬logue to help you work through issues you’re hav¬ing or to explore top¬ics you’re curi¬ous about.

“Write for the plea¬sure of writ¬ing. As the pen traces out words on the paper, your anguish dis¬ap¬pears and your hap¬pi¬ness remains. For this to hap¬pen, it is nec¬es¬sary to have the courage to look deep inside your¬self.” – Paulo Coelho

As long as you write first and fore¬most for your¬self, every sin¬gle fear dis¬ap-pears instantly.
Under¬stand¬ing the more per¬sonal ele¬ments of writ¬ing enables us to get past fears you might have about being a “good” or “bad” writer. Only after the story is writ¬ten does the ques¬tion arise, “Do I want to share this?”

“Some¬times the story finds the sto¬ry¬teller. Not the other way around.”
– T.L. Pear¬son, from the movie Neverwas

The other biggest rea¬son why peo¬ple never write sto¬ries is because they say they’re “not inter¬ested” or because it “isn’t for me.” I know that all too well because I never intended to write sto¬ries either. I had absolutely no inter¬est in it; but what I dis¬cov¬ered over time is that there were sto¬ries within me that wanted to be told.

I had expe¬ri¬ences that my heart wanted to share with the world, but because I wasn’t “inter¬ested” –and– because I didn’t iden¬tify with the label of being a “writer,” I dis¬missed those heart’s wishes. In fact, it wasn’t until I came into con¬tact with friend / mentor that I even became aware that my heart had sto-ries it wanted to share.

With¬out any prior knowl¬edge of story struc¬ture or writ¬ing, I stum¬bled through this process of con¬vert¬ing my heart’s wishes into words on paper. I fum¬bled with my own writ¬ing, and I bat¬tled with my doubts and fears until I finally accepted that there was a sto¬ry¬teller inside me who I never knew. It took me sev¬eral months of writ¬ing sto¬ries before I also real¬ized how much this process of writ¬ing sto¬ries was trans¬form¬ing me into the very per¬son I wanted to be.

What I dis¬cov¬ered is that writ¬ing sto¬ries is an expres¬sion of our selves con-nect¬ing both with our selves and some¬times oth¬ers. It allows those of us who have never con¬sid¬ered our¬selves to be “story writ¬ers” to find great enjoy¬ment and mean¬ing in writ¬ing our own stories.

One of the assur¬ing aspects of writ¬ing sto¬ries is that it’s a guar¬an¬teed win¬ning sit¬u¬a¬tion. In the worst case, you gain some expe¬ri¬ence and throw away a story as most authors do hun¬dreds or thou¬sands of times. The best case is that you write a famous story that impacts the lives of mil¬lions of peo¬ple. Usu¬ally you will write a story some¬where in between—one that impacts your¬self in a mean¬ing¬ful way and also touches the peo¬ple who are close to you.

You can even start your first story today by coming back with a com¬ment here or about what I shared at COPA and shar¬ing a bit about yourself.

What’s your story about who you are?

Why are you who you are?

I look for¬ward to being of assistance to you.

“All of us have experiences or stories, write them down, and begin to share them, and realize that as human beings we are meant to impact each other for the better!” Leslie Choudhury

Your Part¬ner in Trans¬for¬ma¬tion

Leslie Choudhury – Int’l Speaker, Trainer, Consultant and Author

Serious fun for serious business
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