Storytelling - Deepstash

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Telling stories: why your elderly relatives are the best storytellers

Storytelling

Storytelling is a complex cognitive task on our mind, requiring an application of our short-term, working, and long-term memory.

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Ancient stories that shaped history
Ancient stories that shaped history

Alexander the Great learned to read and write by studying Homer's Iliad. Thanks to his teacher, the philosopher Aristotle, he had done so with unusual intensity. When Alexander embarked on his conquests, a copy of the Iliad accompanied him.

Homer's Iliad helped to shape an entire society and its ethics. The story revealed the kind of effect moral choices could have on the general public.

The importance of poetry

Chinese literature is based on the Book of Songs, a collection of simple poems that have accrued much interpretation and commentary.

The Book of Songs enshrined poetry as the most important form of literature across East Asia.

Stories shape language

As more and more parts of the world became literate, new technologies such as paper and print increased the reach and influence of written stories. More readers meant new stories started to appear.

When Dante Alighieri wrote his Comedy in the spoken dialect of Tuscany, it helped to turn the dialect into a legitimate language we now call Italian.

The theory of midlife crises
  • The term "midlife crises" was coined in 1965, and reflects the dawning recognition of one's mortality where death becomes a personal matter.
  • According to Elliot Jaques, the key achievement of middle age is to move beyond youthful idealism to a constructive acceptance.
  • Other explanations are that it is when children may be leaving home, when chronic illnesses often make their first appearance, or when workplace demands may be peaking.
A midlife crisis
A midlife crisis is often seen as a pivot point of life, where attention shifts from time past to time that is still left. It is usually a period of despair and requires a process of adjustment.
When a midlife crisis should appear

Concepts of middle age change as we get older. People aged over 60 recalled their midlife crisis at 53, while those in their 40s dated theirs to 38.

It appears that there are no distinct midlife crises, but rather crises that occur from time to time.

Stories = motivators for changing behaviors

Changing the way someone thinks or acts requires confrontation. And people don’t usually like that. But when you tell a story—something people connect with—it can change the reaction you get.

A story does 2 powerful things to persuade:
  1. It removes direct confrontation: you’re laying out a scenario for people to follow;
  2. It forces the listener to take part in the story: he'll place himself in the story and see himself doing what the successful person in the story did.
How to Tell a Convincing Story:
  1. Identify the desired behavior change.
  2. Find the benefits of the change.
  3. Stoke fear to instigate the change.
  4. Identify major objections.
  5. Find stories and examples to weave together.