Whose Story is it anyway?
Why are stories so powerful?
Why do they captivate us so totally?
And whose story do we believe?
When we hear a story we are instantly transported back to childhood. Our memories start with stories - they are woven into the fabric of our upbringing. They make us human - connecting us with our family and cultural history. They introduce us to ideas, heroes, villains, and far- off places. In short they help develop our imagination and foster the connection between us and the people around us.
They continue to entertain us as we grow up through books, music and movies. And if we go on to have children of our own, we continue the tradition by telling them stories. So what place does storytelling have apart from raising children, and providing a source of relaxation and entertainment?
Rather a lot as it turns out.
Storytelling is a central part of our lives. We are constantly creating our own story, without realising it. Through our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions.
But who is in control of this story? For the most part it's the media. We switch on the TV, we open an Internet browser and – some even still read a newspaper. What we read becomes - in the main part - what we believe. And most of it is bad news. Terrorism, war and violent crime seem to be on the increase (the trend line actually suggests the opposite). Global warming is driving more extreme weather patterns. The economy is faltering (again) and the future looks bleak.
But that's just what the media magnates want us to believe. They want to control our story. They want us to buy more insurance, more goods and services – so the media can sell more advertising. Bad news is good for business – and it drives their economy.
But what if we were to create a new story? Our own story. What if - just for a day - we were to ignore the doom and gloom? What if we decided that instead of bad news, we were to look at the good news all around us. What if we were to imagine a good news story unfolding for ourselves, our families and for our friends?
The truth is we are perfectly capable of creating our own good news story – and in doing so we can imagine – plan for – and in doing do actually create a better future for ourselves. By switching off the bad news others want us to believe, and by switching on the good news within us – the natural optimism, the love we have for others, and the love we receive from others – we can create a new story. One that we can tell our grandchildren - explaining to them how we decided to swap bad news for good news.
Storytelling is at the foundation of all humanity. You have the capacity to create a powerful good news story for yourself - now and into the future. Don't let others dictate your story - create your own – it’ll be a much better one.
Justin Cooper is the Chief Truth Finder and Story Teller at UnleashYourBeast.com.au