#ManlyMonday | The Power of the Story

Stories are powerful. Author and literature professor Harold Goddard once said “The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.” Hasidic Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said, “God made man because he loves stories.”

Both of these men, who were well respected in their time, understood that that stories are truly powerful. In our global world, stories from across the world have the ability to transform our daily lives. We are surrounded by stories but are we invested in them? It is the stories of those around us that shape the world we live in. Are you invested in the stories of your friends, family, co-workers? How about the stories in the city you live in? How about the stories happening around the world?

Here are some ways that I try to invest in the stories around me:

1. Set aside time to have face to face conversations with the people in your life.
2. Read the news. Take 5 minutes out of your day to read the paper or a news website.
3. Subscribe to a monthly or weekly news magazine. I suggest National Geographic and Time Magazine as a starting point.
4. Read blogs. Obviously if you are reading this you already read at least one blog but consistently reading multiple blogs is a good way to gauge and address the issues that are at hand in our world.
5. Watch documentaries. They are an entertaining way to witness events in our world and are great conversation starters if you watch them with friends. Netflix has a pretty solid list of documentaries to start with. I would suggest starting with a film like Bully or 1/2 Revolution for things that are acutely relevant in our world today.

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9 thoughts on “#ManlyMonday | The Power of the Story

  1. I like the concept of living life as if it is a story and embracing and helping others with their situations so that you can help their story progress. I haven’t really looked at it that way before. it is pretty easy to invest myself into people who are very close to me, such as my wife and parents, but I don’t know that I really try to invest into very many other people in my life.

    • I think realizing life is a story is a big thing but even bigger is realizing that we have the ability to author our story. Our individual stories are just a small piece of the bigger Story.

  2. I’m a huge fan of learning other people’s stories. I feel like I always end up hearing the life stories of my hairdresser/people on airplanes/random women in Barnes and Nobles/anyone I meet. The trick? Asking questions. Everyone loves talking about themselves (myself definitely included, let’s be honest) and I’ve found that asking someone a simple question like “Are you from here originally?” or “What made you decide to become a fill-in-the-blank-profession?” leads to such sweet, real conversations. I love hearing about people’s hearts and stories and ask questions as often as I can! I’m excited to see what other thoughts y’all bring up on stories this week…nicely done, Jarred!

    • Asking questions is definitely the way to open up someones story. I’m constantly amazed by what people are willing to tell you if you simply take an interest in their life. I think one of the most connecting things of being human is the simple reality that we all have a story. Our stories might literally have nothing in common but just having one gives us the ability to relate. Thanks Lauren!

  3. “But Jordan. .. What if I’m too busy to engage in other people’s stories whether at home or abroad? What does this engagement do for me?”

    • Chris,
      I would start by saying you aren’t too busy to engage in other’s stories. I don’t even have to know your schedule to make that assertion. What I would suggest to remedy being “too busy” is to rearrange your time. Be more efficient with how you spend your time. As a note, realize anything outside of obligatory things such as work, sleeping and eating is free time. If you choose to work out, that’s your free time. Don’t confuse how you spend your free time with busyness.
      As to what this engagement does for you, it changes you. Living in someone’s pain and sharing in their success fundamentally changes you. Connecting with others is part of what being human is about. Our interconnectedness gives us strength that we couldn’t muster on our own.

      Thanks for the comment. Feel free to let me know if I can clarify anything.

    • Chris,
      These questions you raise are good (and common) questions that I think a lot of people ask as they read posts like this one. I really like your first question,

      “What if I’m too busy to engage in other people’s stories”

      Asking people to give more is difficult even if it is necessary simply because every person feels busy. It seems like we are constantly being told to invest MORE, give MORE, do MORE, etc.. I think this is especially true when it comes to people giving more of their time. Above everything else people cherish their time.

      I think the answer is to move from asking for more to asking for better. It’s difficult for people to give more of their time but we can teach them (and ourselves) to use time “better”, wisely, and to be intentional with time spent. We can learn to invest in others while we are busy. We can invest in other people’s stories at school, work, home, at the gym, or at the super market. Living our own story and engaging in other’s can be done as we go through a busy and stressful day, not just a starbucks over an americano. I would suggest that one of the best ways we can truly invest in each other is by choosing to step into messy, busy, and stressful times and walking with each other through them.

      Short answer (suggestion) for people asking that question:
      Think better not more.

      Thanks for the comment, Chris.

      • I am sincerely humbled by that answer.

        You can’t make more time so learn to be better at using the time you’ve been given.

        Simply Amazing. Well put Jordan.

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