There’s a lot of talk these days around the power of storytelling and especially its effect on how we make decisions and bring positive change to our world.
Narratives are important, because they carry within them guideposts as to what we hold to be real and true. They drive everything we believe about life, which is why it is so important to mind the stories we choose to believe—and even more so, the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
Set against a culture that has grown deeply suspicious of facts and thoughtful rationale, how do we figure out what is real or true when we live in a 24/7 spin zone?
For instance, when we say we want the truth... why do we buy into the hype?
When we say the hustler and being hustled are terrible things... why do we base our buying decisions around whether it’s “a deal” versus whether it “has value”?
When we say sustainability is important... why are a majority of us willing to pay more for pumped-up product packaging rather than simple, well-made products?
When we say we value small business and vibrant communities... do we act on these values? Do we shop small business or support the businesses that help our own neighborhoods thrive?
Remember when you wanted to know about something, you had to look for it? Now, information is just a click away—and thanks to the power of influencers, our inboxes are bulging with all kinds of information about all our favorite things.
Case in point: The Great Pumpkin Panic of 2016.
The pumpkin panic revolves around the Food & Wine post that recently circulated where the writer claimed that canned pumpkin, labeled 100% pure pumpkin, was not real pumpkin but a blend of other types of squash.
It caught my eye because stories like these appear all the time about beauty products—cancer causing deodorants, miracle beauty pills, single magic ingredients… the list goes on.
The writer’s primary idea about the need to be aware of what we consume is correct: Turns out in this case, pumpkin is pumpkin, and nuances of botanical nomenclature are the culprit of the information-disconnect.
It pays to pause and consider, because clarity and facts matter big time, especially when it comes to stories we’re going to put our trust in.
The best stories make their way into the narrative based on what is true, not what sounds real—and we discern what is true by way of pause and consideration.
Let’s give more attention to how we’re choosing, because it’s clear our reactive micro-decisions also carry a narrative about who we are and what we stand for.
In our beauty products and in our pumpkins, it is a rebellious act to pause, consider and look beyond the pumpkin hype, so don’t panic, Pumpkin. Be a rebel!
I recommend this set of TED Talks exploring the art of storytelling — and how good stories have the power to transform our perceptions of the world.
Photo by Eu2Be founder and CEO Charla Jones.