March 16, 2022
Q&A 063

🎤 Story

The war in Ukraine reminds me of something often diminished; the importance of stories. Mr. Zelensky, having been an unlikely candidate for the presidency, is easily best equipped for a role as storyteller with his background in comedy and acting (although his legal education probably doesn't hurt either on this front).

Civil rights activist and poet Maya Angelou once said: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

With his vlogs he rallies the Ukrainian people, boosts morale, and makes people from around the world sympathize with his country. His speeches made several professional translators tear up.

This is what great stories are all about. They don't talk to the prefrontal cortex, but have a direct, almost visceral reaction. They affect the subconscious, the intuition, our gut. It's a deeper layer to the famous saying "Who controls the narrative, controls the truth". If we're emotionally on board with something, we rationalise the rest to fit in. Our most recent addition to the grey matter occupying our skull does not regulate, it merely spins the story.

This knowledge can help us bring about change, but it can also leave us puzzled or even frustrated. Ever wonder why some populist leaders go unpunished for ignoring facts? Why overwhelming scientific evidence does not drastically change our behaviour in light of climate change? If you want better results, tell better stories.