What’s your story, e hoa?

1. At the Webstock launch, @polarbearfarm talked about his desire for different stories for New Zealanders. His classmates were all headed to jobs in companies and he wondered why they didn’t consider working their own stuff. 

2. Kim Workman came and talked to my organisation about the work he does with criminals and the criminal justice system. His presentation was a series of stories. He said that many people end up in prison because that’s the story of their family.

3. A similar thought occured to me while I was watching Awhi Tapu. The characters seemed to be following a path that had been set down by the mythologies and stories they had grown up with. 

4. However, a conversation with a couple of people on the weekend made me question whether it’s the stories or the way they are told that makes a difference. Both men (and the mother of one of them) went into careers that didn’t have much of a relationship with the careers of the rest of their families.

5. Therefore, my new question is – is it the facts in the story that matter, or the way it is told, or the themes that have the most impact on our lives?

6. What’s your story, e hoa?

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4 thoughts on “What’s your story, e hoa?

  1. staplegun says:

    I would think a story is a way of explaining something, making it more comprehendible and more compelling. So it is the underlying themes that matter the most – it is through facts and style that themes are expressed. And the themes are selected by the story-writer/teller – one aunty could tell the family story as your destiny, while an uncle could frame the same story as a warning.Though it is the themes that the listener remembers that matter, not what what the teller tells. Hearing a story may map on to some other completely unrelated themes for you (eg. that you have been mulling over) and that is what has impact on your life.Not really an answer sorry, more of a tall story 😛

  2. Anonymous says:

    Right! So you’re saying that while one person may hear "go to this job, do this thing" someone else hears "do something that you enjoy, contribute to the community". That would explain why it’s so difficult to recreate successful – companies? situations? incubators? – because the very fact that it’s not the original gives it another layer of meaning to the people who are there. I guess that I am also influenced by Pratchett’s ‘Witches Abroad’ which is also about story and destiny. Actually…his books do have that theme of narrative being a driving force in the failure or success of schemes. ‘A million to one odds? Well, it just might work.’ #thinking

  3. staplegun says:

    Yeah, if you look into the semiotic triangle, communication is made up of symbols (eg. the 3 symbols C, A, and T) which have no intrinsic meaning, but we associate meaning to them, except the person receiving the message may not make the same association as they have their own interpretations going on.At the higher level, stories are a good way to communicate meaning because our brains seem to learn best via examples (especially if it hooks on to emotions), but because we all have unique sets of experiences there’s no telling how the mesage intended will be interpretted. I guess also, the storyteller will be making all kinds of assumptions in their story based on their experiences, eg. that saying the word ‘cat’ has a particular connotation or back-story. So there’s so many ways a story could fail that you can see the value of a talented story-teller.I’m not quite sure what it means for a narrative to be a driving force in a venture? I can only guess that it means how well the theme of the venture is communicated (and received) – ie. that facts don’t click as well as a story, eg. "we will sell 2,000 units" vs "no one will want to be seen dead without our product".

  4. staplegun says:

    Coincidentally, I just came across this article about storytelling in advertising. I liked how they mention "Most prosperous companies have creation myths: Jobs and Wozniak toiling away in a garage; Page and Brin penning plans for Google at Stanford; Coca-Cola’s secret formula locked in a vault."http://adage.com/article/guest-columnists/storytelling-apple-google-chevy-led-success/229814/

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