When I think of storytelling, different images come to mind. One is of early humans, hurdled together around their fire, sharing their unique experiences, creating stories to explain both their existence and the world they lived in, or simply retelling favourite stories to ingrain into the minds of their ‘people’. One way I would simply describe this is, having the narrator pass on the baton to future generations. When one regards the art of storytelling, it is a commonality amongst all racial and ethnic groups in the world. Every group has its own cultures and experiences weaved through its ancient stories and poems. In turn, these stories give a sense of belonging to its receiver regardless of time. In some cultures, these stories were the teaching tools. People love listening to stories because it stirs their imagination and entertains them. As a bonus, it brings them vicarious experiences without having to travel back in time.
Storytelling truly is an art that has inspired people in unimaginable ways. Listening to the right story at the right time can change the course of one’s life. When we look back at some of the greatest achievements in the world, they are linked either in a significant way or in a small way to inspirational stories. What would give a man or woman courage to overcome daunting situations? In some cases, stories heard have strengthened those hearts, to pursue their dreams despite the consequences or difficulties. For instance, during the black slavery era, some slaves were inspired to escape after they heard stories told about Harriet Tubman. Throughout history, storytelling has also played a role in guiding people’s actions to make a real difference. Subsequently, these differences have turned out to be the building blocks for significant changes.
In my opinion, storytelling is communication in its purest form. Uncontaminated by discrimination. Uncontaminated by greed. In today’s world, it a powerful branding medium. A brand’s personal message to the world. A story that resonates well with receivers will plant the seed of relevance each time that brand’s name or logo comes to light. It will make them matter enough to acknowledge and follow.
Storytelling will always be part of mankind because it is more than stringing sentences together, it touches the deepest parts of the human psyche and reminds us of what was and what could be.