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How Essential is Storytelling?

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November 09, 2016 DR. SHARON BUCHALTER

There is no arguing against the idea that storytelling is one of the most important skills that one can possess. Why? Because storytelling is the way thoughts, ideas, and experiences are communicated to others. Without storytelling, we would have no idea about the past. We wouldn’t know about Christopher Columbus “discovering” the Americas, the Holocaust, or even the story about the first landing on the moon. Stories allow people to latch onto an idea and formulate their own perception based on the story. Here are some of the reasons why storytelling is so important.

History Repeats Itself

History is important, and so is communicating history from years past. There is a phrase that states “history repeats itself”. I believe this to be very true. But if we don’t tell stories about what happened in the past, how are future generations going to know about what occurred? They aren’t going to. So, we would be doing an injustice to future generations letting them make the same mistakes that we made in the present. The same goes for the present. We make decisions based off of the stories that we’ve heard from the past. So, listen to the stories from the past and tell the stories you know from the past. The more stories that are circulating, the more information you have in order to allow history to repeat itself, or not - your choice.

You formulate opinions

Storytelling does something really special and that is allow you to formulate your own opinions. Many stories will be told about the same scenario or event, from many different people. At that point you have the ability to weigh all of the stories and formulate your own opinion. For instance, when 9/11 occurred people interpreted the situation very different from one another, and still do to this day. Some people tell the story as a terrorist attack while others may tell the story as a planned accident from the government. There are even documentaries that tell the story from both of these angles. Now, it’s up to you to judge the two different viewpoints and stories and formulate your own opinion.

It entertains

If stories don’t do anything else, the one thing they tend to do is entertain. Storytelling gives you the ability to entertain people. You have the chance to tell a story as vividly as you want or can. With that, you give people the opportunity to walk in your shoes and experience what you've experienced. You can make someone laugh, groan, smile, frown, etc. with nothing but words and expressions (which I find to be pretty awesome!).

So, next time you’re being told a story, listen up because people have a lot to offer! And next time you have the ability to tell a story, tell it to your best ability to allow people to take a walk in your shoes! Leave some feedback below because I would love to hear what you have to say!

- Dr. Sharon
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