Les Posen sent me this article (“This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It)” by Benedict Carey) from the New York Times (might require a login) about how we construct our life stories. One of the question I often get asked is “by collecting stories aren’t you just finding out what happened in the past? How does that relate to what’s happening now?” This paragraph from the article helps us understand that whatever story we tell about the past is a reflection of what’s happening now.
In analyzing the texts, the researchers found strong correlations between the content of people’s current lives and the stories they tell. Those with mood problems have many good memories, but these scenes are usually tainted by some dark detail. The pride of college graduation is spoiled when a friend makes a cutting remark. The wedding party was wonderful until the best man collapsed from drink. A note of disappointment seems to close each narrative phrase.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: