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The Importance of Telling One’s Story

Who doesn’t like a good juicy story? I certainly do but I used to get really annoyed everytime I heard people telling their stories, during their seminars. It seemed so pointless and I had paid good money for what I was there to learn.…so why were they wasting time telling their stories?

For a rather smart person, I just couldn’t get it. Was I missing something?

It was only when I started telling my own story that I realised why they were doing it – I realised that every time I told my story I was reclaiming my identity which I had lost, so long ago. Of course, it didn’t come easy as telling my story brough up all sorts of things. Oh, my goodness…all those judgements and assumptions that I made about others, I firmly now pointed at myself. It nearly crippled me but I am happy to say that I am now sprouting out my story for everyone, that is willing to hear.

Why do stories work?

Story telling evolved a way to share, teach and interpret experiences to others. Stories were initially transmitted orally with the appropriate gestures or expressions which made them easy to undertand and remember and as we evolved we were able to transmit our intentions in more sophisticated ways i.e. through pictures, writing, drama, etc….

Stories work because then have the ability feed into every aspect of our psyche. In fact, stories are an essential ingredient in the development of our identity. Surprisingly, it doesn’t matter what form of storytelling people use, theyall seem to always activate the “Theory of Mind” neural networks. These brain networks are associate with the way we make symbolic representations or meaning (stories) about ours and others shared experiences, intentions, motivations, beliefs and evaluative actions.

So, it is safe to say that when we tell stories, over and over again those storied become hardwired and they become REAL to us. They can become so real that we can’t tell the difference between fact or fiction. Interestingly, researchers have begun to think that the reason stories work so well is because they seem to activate the default or resting network. Default networks are thought to come online during activities associated with wakeful rest such as mindfulness, creative art, daydreaming, etc…These are often times when “Aha Moments” arise.

So, stories are a powerful way to communicate and some researchers suggest that the real reason that our species, Homo Sapiens, was so successful was because of our ability to tell and believe stories – Our stories created a shared culture which allowed for collaboration between large numbers of groups of people. But, like every story there is a flip side, stories can persuade us into thinking and doing things that are not always optimal. So, if this is the case it becomes imperative that we change the story and rewrite a new one for ourselves.

Ways to start unravelling stories is to:

  1. Know, foremost, that our memories and therefor stories are not hard evidence of the fact – they are just mental constructions which are highly malleable. This means that every time you access that mental construct it will be changed – because you are a different person at every moment.
  2. Use Socratic style questioning and find out what is real i.e.
    1. Where did the story come from?
    1. What is my earliest memory?
    1. Check it out with others and see what they have noticed – often they see the exact same even differently
    1. Look at the meaning you or other people are making
    1. Does it help you or hinder you – if you are not thriving it isn’t a good thought.
  3. Most of all: Be very curious about the answer and have a desire to really get to the truth AND THEN WONDER “what it would be like to have a different STORY and live a DIFFERENT TRUTH?

If you have a story that you cannot shake and you would like to change it forever please message, email at or click on the link and book yourself in for a chat @

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