We Understand Through Stories

I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time, and after much thought and deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that everything we ever understand has to be framed in the context of stories.

There is no real ‘knowledge’ or ‘information’ that cannot be told in the form of stories, and whilst we may learn ‘facts’, or ‘information’, it is almost always, only possible to make sense of it, in the context of having learnt something that provides a foundation upon which the story can be told.

If you think back to the teachers you enjoyed the most at school, it was almost always the teachers who did a good job of keeping your attention. Now anyone will be able to relate to speakers who are slow and boring, and monotonous, who don’t tell stories, but preach facts, and consequently lose our attention and our respect, along the way.

In contrast, the people that we all cling towards, or gather around are the ones who have great ‘stories’ to share.  They are the ones that we warm to at parties.  They are the teachers that we remember.  The one’s who gave us more ‘context’ than just the information itself.

As the mind itself, can only ‘store’ information in an ‘associative’ manner, it can only really ever build on the knowledge it has, and can never learn something completely new, unique, or different, without finding some way of making sense of it or connecting it to something that already exists in it.

Nothing is so unique, different, or special, that it can’t be explained in terms of something else.  Everything is somehow connected to something else, somewhere along the way.  So to have the greatest impact, through social media, try to make what you share, something that is either a story in and of itself, or connects with, or is a part of a story, that a person either pieces together, or weaves into an existing frame of reference, or context.

The best stories, are the ones that leave us feeling uplifted, and inspired, but in which we can find something personal to resonate with, and follow along with, and feel like that we’re ‘part’ of the story being told, as much as being the observer to another telling their story.  It’s a tough art indeed, but a necessary one, I believe, for it then enables you to artfully tie together narratives, and descriptions, into stories that connect with the individuals, not leave them watching from a far, unengaged, and with no desire to participate or interact.

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