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The Power of Storytelling

Have you ever thought about why kissing a toddler’s elbow after a small bump works?


With a kiss, a hug, and maybe an imaginary band-aid for extra special healing, this tiny human is ready to head back out and do the very thing that had shaken them up in the first place. What is it that shifts their mind away from the incident to whatever adventure awaits them next?


It’s the story that they’ve been told by their guardians, and a story they’ve decided to believe for themselves. Somewhere along the way, their inner library was presented with a shiny new volume on how to handle the little scrapes and bumps they’ll inevitably face and is on the shelf for future reference. The power of a simple kiss is fuel for the story that pushes them forward.


If you’ve been tuned in to CreatEscape, you know that we’re all about storytelling. The stories that we tell ourselves are the narratives that shape the realities that we experience. As creatives, we often go through moments of feeling uninspired, stuck, and sometimes just overall not good enough. We question our abilities, goals – even our desires – and overanalyze every creative thought that comes to mind.


Just like the kid with the boo-boo in the story above, you too can tell yourself a better story to navigate the hurdles you come up against on your creative journey.


According to a small study, Paul J. Zak, PhD. found that “compelling narratives cause oxytocin release and have the power to affect our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.” He notes that the stories that move us to action are the ones that involve us emotionally and cause us to pay attention. Tap into this power and take charge of the story that moves you through the world.


Tips for Better Self-Storytelling

  1. Take notice of the story you’re currently believing: Our thoughts are always zooming, so it’s important to take intentional time to think about the narrative you’re currently existing in.

  2. Break the story down: Think about the origin of the story you’re living in. When did it begin? Most importantly, is it even true?

  3. Pick a better story: What is the story that you’d like to be living in? How do you exist as the main character in that world? Make good use of your free will and your power to choose another narrative.

  4. Practice being present: It’s not always a simple task to rewrite our behaviors and thoughts, but it is a necessary practice. When your old story tries to peek around the corner, acknowledge it, and remind yourself that you have a new story to live out now. Living in the now will help get you closer to the you of tomorrow’s story.

Humans don’t process the world like computers do – we need narrative in order to understand what’s going on within us and around us. The stories we tell ourselves are the building blocks of culture and with better storytelling, we can join in, shift, and reshape culture to create a better world.

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