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Stories give form and meaning to our lives. They can also be manipulated to suit the image we have of ourselves. You might say that stories are what we are all about, for stories shape our world.

We remember imagery. We learn about the world through the tales we hear, and long after the exact details of a situation have faded, we can recall key elements of the story because our mind has retained it. Perhaps it is because the mind seeks order, and placing events in a framework provides it, that narrative is so important to us.

Using stories

So why not use this natural faculty deliberately? Some teachers do, and therapists. Effective public speakers use anecdotes – because the crowd loves a story – to grab attention and hold it.

We tell ourselves stories too, but we rarely use them purposefully to understand ourselves or plan where we’re going. If for each of us, the landscape of our life is a story, we see only as far as the horizons set by the tales we live by.

Yet stories are magical for us. They quickly engage and enthral us, they are an unequalled medium for teaching and learning.

I know, from my workshops and training events, that people often say they cannot tell a story, but this isn’t true. Everybody can, and we all do it every day whether we realise it or not.

Your own narrative

The great thing about a story is that it changes with the re-telling, so we can shape it and change ourselves. What story is dominant in your life now? Is it a sketch or an epic; a fairy story, myth, legend or saga?

Reflecting on the story of you can shape and guide your life.

The Dangers of a Single Story

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