The Power of Story

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

Aged 10 I could read an Enid Blyton novel in just over an hour. My dad would read to us kids every night. The Book of a Thousand Poems, Irish Fairy Tales, BadJelly the Witch and The Magic Faraway Tree were a few of our favourites. I lived my life as if it were a story and each day I could be any character I fancied. I usually opted for a detective and I would find interesting incidents to investigate, such as, was Iris from the big old house at the bottom of our road really a witch! And my love of story continued.

As a psychologist it's so illuminating what you can learn about a person by how they interpret their life story. And today scientific research supports this idea - a coherent story drawing together our past, present and future is essential in developing agency to move forward in life.

Over the years I must have listened to thousands of personal stories, individual and team story's and the hundreds of stories I've curated for TEDx and other inspiring events. Neuroscience has demonstrated that when we are captivated by a story the brain of the listener/s and story-teller synchronise. It's magic. We become one! I have witnessed this time after time in a room filled with a thousand people all listening to the stranger on stage share their story.

Story is a mechanism to unite the arts and science. Scientific research has guided my professional life and my experience tells me that there is more to the world than the factual process of 'what happens!' Human being need to make sense of the world. Story does just that. It gives us our experience of being alive, creates meaning and an investment in living.

© 2019 MarieBurns