Whether you realize it or not, you probably tell a story every day. It could be something mundane. You have a flat tire. You run into somebody and suddenly you’re telling them every detail. You throw in some setting, maybe a character or two. You make it interesting. Well, you try to.
Or maybe you stumble into work late, panting and covered in ash. You could walk to your desk and sit quietly. But if you just made it out of a heated battle with a fire-breathing dragon, you wouldn’t do that. You’d talk about it.
And if you’re human, and not a medieval warrior who’s used to this sort of commute, you tell the story. To your boss, your friends, maybe a stranger on the bus, and probably your grandkids.
The smallest of stories have made it through centuries of human civilization. History is arguably just a bunch of stories fused together. Stories that somehow don’t get old. It’s been said that there are four plots, seven plots, maybe even two, that we simply tell over and over. Spend five minutes listening to someone on the phone and you'll catch on to that pretty fast.
So why do we do it? What is it about stories that are so prevalent?
Stories are relatable. They go by a simple format we are familiar with. Even if a story doesn’t follow a traditional structure, it’s still not following it. At the very least, it’s a comfort zone.
There’s some psychology at play here, too. Stories make us feel. They tug at that part of us trying to find meaning, that ultimate sense of confusion we all share. They suggest possibilities, give us new ways to relate, merge the past, present and future, ourselves with each other, individual experience with the collective. Simply, they help us commune.
In the advertising world, and any creative field, story is recognized for it’s powerful ability to connect and resonate with a lot of people. Clearly though, storytelling is a great tool for all of us to keep sharp and appreciate. Not just when we want to sell something.
So, anyone have a good story to tell? We'd love to hear it!