“Facts tell, stories sell,” is a principle known to every top-tier ad writer.
Stories change people. Statistics give them something to argue about.
People remember stories long after bullet-points are forgotten.
The first American census was taken in 1790, fourteen years after the nation declared its independence from Britain; 3,893,635 persons were in that final count, which included 694,280 slaves. In other words, the total population of the United States was slightly smaller than today’s metropolitan Atlanta, slightly bigger than modern Detroit.
1790 was just 228 years ago. Only 6 or 7 generations.
I could say, “America became America because of the stories we told ourselves,” but that might lead you to believe that America has become what it will be. But the new and different stories we tell ourselves are reshaping us, making us a different America than we have previously been.
We become what we believe.
What do we believe about ourselves today?
Because we will definitely become that tomorrow.
“Those who tell the stories hold the power in society. Today television tells most of the stories to most of the people, most of the time.” – George Gerbner
“Whether you read a newspaper, watch TV or follow the news online, only 14 percent of the stories you hear about were developed by journalists defining an issue and pursuing it. A staggering 86 percent of the stories were fed to broadcasters by official sources and press releases. In 1960 the PR agent-to-journalist ratio operating in the US was 0.75 to 1. Today the ratio is 5 to 1.” – John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney, The Death and Life of American Journalism
“I mean we are all, as human beings, caught up in a web of narration, this great narrative web, and we have always defined ourselves, human beings, through narration, through stories.”
– Tom Robbins, April 28, 2014, to Mara Altman in The Kindle Singles Interview
“The power of story is in the way it incarnates ideas, putting flesh and blood on skeletal principles… When we see such stories, with all their hardships, colors and juices, they move us not by external forces but by internal ones. By the quickening of our conscience and the stirrings of our heart.” – Richard Exley
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” – Joan Didion, The White Album
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” – Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
You can do it.
Of course you can.
If you only will.
But whether or not you will
depends on the story you tell yourself.
Roy H. Williams
“Like any published memoir, our own life stories should also come with a disclaimer: ‘This story that I tell about myself is only based on a true story. I am in large part a figment of my own yearning imagination.’ And it’s a good thing, too. As we will see, a life story is an intensely useful fiction.” – Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human