Everyone has a story to tell
Updated: Jul 27
My dear scientists, artists, writers, musicians, politicians, scientists, Instagram celebs, civil servants, marketers, investors, bloggers and vloggers, soldiers, nurses, actors, directors, game developers, caretakers, photographers, coders, bus drivers, painters, journalists, entrepreneurs and parking valets with a dream…
The world needs your story. Why? It’s because all stories are inherently inspiring.
You may think the opposite. What’s inspiring about my job? My organization? Or even: what’s inspiring about me? In a world full of The Big Bang Theory, Guggenheim, Oprah Winfrey, Game of Thrones, The Chinese State Circus and Lady Gaga what could be possible be even remotely interesting about what I do?
All stories around our challenges and conflicts
But you’d be wrong. Why? Because stories tell us how to live. All good tales are about conflict. And deep down we all face the same challenges in life: achieving our goals and dreams while overcoming the obstacles this strange-little-blue-ball-in-the-endless-sky throws at us. However small or big the challenges, we fight every day to overcome them. And that’s intrinsically inspiring. For everyone. Always.
There is a catch though. We have to have the guts to tell our stories. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he paraphrased Confucius: “Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Inspire me and I will get involved”. Good storytelling is all about getting people engaged in your struggles. Especially if those challenges make us wiser and more aware. It doesn’t even really matter how you tell it. Just that you do.
Plus, what most of us fail to realize is that the simple act of telling your story makes it much easier to achieve success. It’s all about being vulnerable. By putting yourself and your dreams out there, and sharing your challenges in achieving them, they become a self-fulling prophecy. Your lifegoals immediately manifest themselves. In other words, by far the easiest way to kill your dreams is by never sharing them.
Everyone loves a good story. Yours should be next.
That’s what all storytelling comes down to in the end. The tale of overcoming difficulties – of facing inner and outer conflict - is the one ingredient every good story has. And all of us, from the humble to the powerful, from the rich to the poor, working at companies, charities, governments, armies or hospitals, we all face adversity. So, by definition, we all have an interesting story to tell.
There you have it, the secret to all good storytelling is to tell your whole story. Preferably not just your successes, but your failures and challenges are what makes a story interesting. That may sound counterintuitive in these narcissistic social media driven times. But that hardship is always far more interesting than your perfect picture.
It’s about your road, not your ideal. That’s where the inspiration comes from. In storytelling the journey is always more important than the destination. And the more difficult the journey, the more inspiring the resolution becomes. So, if you want to tell your story successfully, tell the entire bloody tale.
You will become a legend.
Rogier van Kralingen