Storytelling is at the basis of human interaction.
We relate to each other through stories; we share our vulnerabilities through stories, and we connect. Stories have the potential to change hearts and minds, propelling movements forward to ultimately changing systems . They can serve to build connection within the movement and can serve to change the opinions of our decision-makers. This Stanford Societal Innovation Review helps to categorize the varied impacts of a story. https://tinyurl.com/LightGlueWeb
Stories may serve as
- Light - illuminating policy impacts
- Glue - building community, connecting divergent individuals in commonality
- Web - changing personal, cultural, and mythical narratives
“The work of systems change involves seeing systemically—looking at the elements, interconnections, and wider purposes of systems—and acting systemically. Story plays a vital role in helping us do both of these things.
Story has many different qualities that make it useful for the work of systems change. It’s a direct route to our emotions, and therefore important to decision-making. It creates meaning out of patterns. It coheres communities. It engenders empathy across difference. It enables the possible to feel probable in ways our rational minds can’t comprehend. When it comes to changing the values, mindsets, rules, and goals of a system, story is foundational.”
STORY AS LIGHT
Story helps illuminate the past, present, and future, thus lighting up the paths of change. Specifically, it:
- Highlights the fault lines in a system and makes visceral cases for change.
- Illuminates outliers and builds a cohering narrative around their work.
- Shines a light on visions of the future that change the way people act in the present.
STORY AS GLUE
Story is also a tool for building community through empathy and coherence. It enables people to connect across differences and to generate narratives that hold together groups, organizations, and movements.
Story engenders empathy. It is the best tool we have for understanding what it must feel like to be someone else. Systems change frequently involves collaboration across differences, bringing together actors with very different positions to re-envision the goals of a system and to change it.
Building community through coherence
“Any large-scale human cooperation—whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe—is rooted in common myths that only exist in people’s collective imagination.”
—Yuval Noah Harari
STORY AS WEB
Finally, we can use story to reauthor the web of narratives we live in. Specifically, we can use it to:
- Change the personal narratives we have about our lives.
- Change the cultural narratives that frame the issues we advocate for.
- Change the mythic narratives that influence our worldview.
Stories are a key to advocating for systemic change! Do you feel ready to share your #MyNCCannabisStory,whether Light, Glue, or Web?
Read our recent Cannabis Session on this topic https://www.ncnorml.org/tell-your-mynccannabisstory/ for guidance on developing your story and sample stories
Go to https://actionnetwork.org/forms/tell-us-your-mynccannabisstory/ and fill in the details along with a link to your <60-second video or 200-word written story
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