31 Ways To #ChangeState — Day 12: Stories




Saint Paul


How is your Hero’s Quest today?

You are the Hero in your own story, aren’t you?

You know, the story where you have a quest… bigger than even yourself… and you meet a handful of setbacks and challenges along the way… and naysayers are looking from the peanut gallery expecting that you’ll fail…

But of course, you’ll complete your mission… unless you give up.

But that’s not you.

Today is Day 12 in our series, 31 Ways to Change State.

Because the inputs we give to our brain determine the outcomes.

So we’re gathering 31 ways to change those inputs, for your brain and for the brains around you.

Today: Stories.

We’ve discussed the importance of stories before.

When we tell a story, the listener gets transported away from his current thought process and into the story.

The best stories include visual elements, to help the listener envision the setting. Using our words, we want to “paint a picture” in the mind of the listener or reader.

Broad strokes of the setting, small details to fill it in:

“It was a dark and stormy night. The streetlights could barely penetrate the heavy rain as I walked towards my blue hatchback. The heavy bag cutting into my shoulder reminded me of the importance of blah blah blah…”


It’s helpful to have protagonist with whom the listener can identify. That makes the story even more powerful, because we can see ourselves in his or her shoes.

Ok, so stories help to convey a message, often with ups and downs to keep the listener (or reader, or viewer) engaged.

And when we tell someone a story about themselves, they might believe it.

That’s why it’s important to tell a kid his behavior is bad, not to tell the kid that he is bad.

Because once you assign a story to someone, they might believe it… and then they might begin to live it.

And if you repeat that story, the repetition will drive it even deeper, and make the story a part of someone’s identity.

When we tell ourselves a story, we’re even less critical of that story. We’re more likely to believe it

because it comes from such a trusted source!

And once something is a part of our Identity, we have a hard time giving that up.

Identities help define our Tribe, and once we have a Tribe, once we feel like we belong… we’re afraid of losing that Tribe.

So we cling to the stories about who we are, limiting ourselves and our growth in the hope that we can remain comfortable.

Of course, we all grow and change. Knowing that you can tell yourself a different story, with a different outcome, can propel you to new heights. If you let it.

So, stories. They have a lot of power.

How can this apply in a business sense?

Stories paint a picture. Jim Camp, feared negotiator and author of Start with No, would tell us to use stories to create a vision that people can work towards.

Stories put the teller and the listener onto the same brain wavelength, improving cooperation and compatibility.

Stories can be used to slide an idea into someone’s head without it being a direct command— “My friend has a similar house and her landscaping has made it breathtaking!”

Finally, and maybe most important in a business sense, Stories define a Brand.

People don’t buy things only based on price.

That’s too logical.

No, people buy (and make other decisions) based on emotions and feeling. Your brand should compete on an emotional level, not on a price point.

Go forth, Hero, and connect to your audience with stories.




One go-to source I have for Stories with my kids is Aesop’s Fables. They’re not tidy little stories like many books, instead they’re a bit open-ended and are widely applicable to events in our lives. Pick up a copy today, because we all need good sources of stories to tell.