Tell me a story about your life
Tell Me a Story: The Life-Shaping Power of Our Stories by Daniel TaylorTell Me a Story (previously published as The Healing Power of Stories. New York: Doubleday, 1996) explores the story-shaped nature of our lives. We are born, live, and die within stories. These stories shape how we see ourselves, the world, and our place in it. The first great storytellers in our lives are home, church, school, and popular culture. Knowing and embracing healthy stories are crucial to living rightly and well. This book investigates the relationship between stories and meaning in life, the difference between character and personality, the ability of story to make connections between things, the power of story to bring about a desired future, how stories create community and a sense of belonging, and how broken stories can be healed.
Drawing on a wide range of stories-literary, popular, and personal, Tell Me a Story offers profound insight, encouragement, and inspiration. It includes a series of questions designed to help readers identify the important stories in their own lives.
Tell the story of your life
Do you ever find yourself getting bored in a conversation, perhaps having to force yourself to pay attention? I have. The knack for keeping conversations engaging and interest alive is quite valuable to the job seeker. Many factors can contribute, including charisma , eye contact, and demeanor—some of which are easier to learn than others. Give me a great storyteller, and perhaps a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine depending on the circumstances , and I will stay engaged for hours! In other words, these types of interviews are the perfect time to use well-chosen stories to make your case.
A little self-compassion goes a long way in helping us tell our life stories to ourselves and to others. Think of a book or movie you know well with a well-drawn protagonist. By the end of the story, you have come to an understanding of who this character is, and there are certain things that character cannot do without throwing your mind out of experiencing the story and into a place of questioning the storyteller. The same holds true with our own self-conceptions. People act in ways that fit with their idea of who they are. And often, the story we tell about ourselves highlights the things we have done wrong in our lives. This sets us up to expect failure from ourselves.
Many people have a story to tell. If you are just writing for your family, that story might be different than if you were writing your story to be read by the general public. If your life was a harsh one you may not want to include the real names of the people involved. You may also want to consider whether your life story could be written as fiction. Write down everything you can think of that you want to include in your life story. Write scenes of your life that you want to include in your story on different sheets of paper or index cards.
Writing your life story can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have never told it start to finish before. You may decide to write your life story down on paper to then share with others.
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How you arrange the plot points of your life into a narrative can shape who you are—and is a fundamental part of being human. But it's not stupid at all. In telling the story of how you became who you are, and of who you're on your way to becoming, the story itself becomes a part of who you are. This narrative becomes a form of identity, in which the things someone chooses to include in the story, and the way she tells it, can both reflect and shape who she is. But when people think about their lives to themselves, is it always in a narrative way, with a plot that leads from one point to another? There's an old adage that everyone has a book inside of them. But life rarely follows the logical progression that most stories—good stories—do, where the clues come together, guns left on mantles go off at the appropriate moments, the climax comes in the third act.
When I was younger, my dad used to tell me stories before bed. These were tales that rivaled those of Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn — only they were true. He told me about growing up in Chicago, the same place where I was born, but our experiences were vastly different. Each night, I got to hear a different story from my dad. He told me about the time he saw a UFO or when Santa Claus broke into his bedroom to give him a candy cane. I became the audience of a mastery storyteller, enthralled with the unusual and interesting characters from another lifetime.