An Introduction to Storying

The world is made of stories.

This is not meant to be esoteric or philosophical. It’s just how things are. Stories literally help us understand the world, and have for a long time. About 30,000 years ago, humans were trying to make sense of their lives in the form of cave paintings. Today, cave paintings have become digital recordings that we listen to on supercomputers in our pockets. Why are we still drawn to storytelling after all these millennia? Scientists have now discovered that reading about experiences in books lights up the brain in the same way that physical experiences do. There’s no distinction. Regardless of how we consume stories, they do the same thing they always have: They provide meaning to our own lives and allow us to make sense of the things around us. That’s why navigating the world means navigating stories.

The language of children is storytelling.

Every parent and teacher has experienced this to be true. If you have doubts, look to the nearest child and say, “Once upon a time.” You will see that you now have their full attention, no matter what they were doing a moment before. Because you are now speaking their language.

If the language of children is storytelling and the world is made of stories, then the most powerful person in the world … is the storyteller.