Why Do We Tell Stories?
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both.”
Growing up, my father used to always tell me the story behind the poem of the Road Not Taken. He would explain to me that sometimes, in life, we are left to make important choices, and these choices will represent what the road ahead of us will look like. Although other people might have travelled through one road, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the one for me. “Listen to your heart, and see where it takes you”, he would tell me.
As I went through different stages of my life, this story had always resonated with me. Every time I was torn between two choices, a little voice in my head would say, “listen to your heart and see where it takes you.”
Why do you think that is?
Stories have been shown to have a significant impact on the human mind. I am much more likely to remember Robert Frost’s poem now that I’ve connected it to a certain time & event in my life. And now that you’ve heard it as my story, you’re more likely to remember it as well. Once you hear a story, it resonates with you much more than if you would just hear out bullet points or a presentation, because there’s a much higher chance for it to be imprinted in your memory.
The History of Storytelling
The society we live in today could not exist without the influence of past generations. As creatures of habit and tradition, we hand down lessons and knowledge from one generation to the next. What started off as the oral tradition, quickly revolutionized into plays and novels, which turned into what we know today as cinematic movies, and videos. And although the form of storytelling may have changed, the essence and our desire to tell and hear stories hasn’t.
Storytelling has most definitely earned its place as one of the most important traditions that we possess, and it’s not going anywhere. It lies at the core of human connection and is critical in providing a sense of community and connectivity. Storytelling allows us to connect on a much deeper level and this greatly impacts the society we live in and the ways we can express ourselves. Whether it is used in developing certain skills and morals in children, or to keep our ancestry and history going, we use storytelling every day to make sense of our world and to be able to share this understanding with others.
What Happens to Your Brain when you Hear a Story
As we tell stories, it pushes us to open up and be vulnerable which, in turn creates empathy between the story-teller and the listener.
Science has consistently proven the power that storytelling has on our brains and its power to forge close, personal connections. The reason this happens is due to neurons in our brain that light up as we tell and listen to stories. The parts of our brains that would normally light up as we experience events light up as we’re listening, and this causes a significant increase in neural activity. This creates a deeper impression in our minds, helping us to retain that information, and making us feel like we actually experienced the story ourselves. Basically, a story can put your whole brain to work.
Most times, stories contain lessons that instruct the audience, whether it be about love, forgiveness, or to strive to be better. The most powerful stories are those that can resonate with others through communicating empathy and sincerity. The reason this happens is because when we experience empathy, our brain releases a chemical called “oxytocin”, also known as the bonding chemical, and this leads us to feelings of trust and connection. Further, when we experience emotionally charged events our brain releases dopamine, which is what helps with information processing and aiding memory. This is why the power to tell stories effectively and memorably has become an immensely important and valuable skill.
Your Brand & Your Story
Good storytelling leaves people feeling connected and empowered to take action.
It’s not just a creative approach to marketing, it gives your consumers a completely different entry to your brand and is one of the most powerful techniques we have as humans to communicate and motivate. Using our storytelling approach, we’ll be able to elevate the meaning behind your brand and develop a much deeper connection with your audience.
Check out our work and let’s start telling your story today.