Stories are one of the oldest human traditions in existence and have had many years to imprint their importance upon the human psyche. While this is just a small sample, here are four reasons why stories so powerful.
Stories can motivate us.
We all have experienced how a good story can pull at our emotions. Information alone does not provide a lot of motivation. A story combines information with emotion, which makes it much more compelling. Good stories follow frameworks that are proven to capture the emotions of the audience. One example is the Hero’s Journey, the tale of the young hero who faces incredible external odds and who only triumphs once they have made some powerful internal change, usually from youth mentality to adult mentality. One of the most famous examples of this is Star Wars IV, which was largely inspired from the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell.
We can learn from stories.
Learning happens from connecting new information to existing information. Stories help thread together information with context, making it easier to remember information. Not only does this allow you to memorise in the traditional sense, but also to gain unexpected insights.
Stories can teach us empathy.
Stories train us to feel empathy for others. In a story you usually heard not only what happens to the protagonist, but also their internal dialogue. This helps you gain an understanding for how people might feel when in similar situations.
Stories can frame our perception of our lives.
Motivational speaker Tony Robbins often talks about the power of your story. We essentially live our lives through the lens of the story we tell ourselves about our life. The events of our life do not determine who we are, it is how we put those events into context. Let’s say you’ve had a difficult upbringing. You could have an internal story about how unfortunate your circumstances have been which would typically lead to a lifestyle of victim-based thinking, or you could have a story about how that while it had been tough, you had been fortunate to experience hardship at a young age because it acted as a catalyst that has given you greater inner strength and skills by getting to where you are now.
If you want to dive deeper into the power of storytelling, look at this documentary on the creation of the first Star Wars movie and see how what seems like a space sci-fi is actually a mythological tale.