There’s something to be said about the human condition. We’re all going through our own personal struggles, adventures, successes and failures. Take a second to realize how remarkable it is that there are 7 billion roaming stories and ideas out there. It’s pretty insane to think about. Every journey matters, and I encourage everyone to make an effort for their stories to be heard.
A resounding credo that has stuck with me since high school is this: “one body, one journey”. The idea that we’re stuck with one body for the rest of our lives made this statement particularly compelling. Permanence is scary shit to try understanding as a teenager.
Acknowledging the “one body” credo allowed me to perceive the immense burdens we’re constantly inundated with. Think about the amount of physical and emotional stress our bodies have been through. Parents divorcing. Recent breakup. A death of a friend. Making ends meet. Failing tests. It’s overwhelming.
Conceptualizing all of this allowed me to accept the past, assess it, and act upon it. Storytelling weaves these things together, which is why it’s so important for everyone to understand the value of their personal story. It’s cathartic.
Perhaps the more we share how we are as people, uninhibitedly, the more we’d appreciate the vast diversity of the human condition, and that despite the differences, realize we’re really not alone in how we think.
Storytelling is also very sexy. Why else are books like Harry Potter and The Alchemist so compelling? Why else has Thought Catalog become such a huge success since its launch? Why do people cry when Fantine belts out “I Dream a Dream” on stage? Because somewhere down the line, someone courageous had something compelling to say, and people listened. At this moment, stories become powerful.
It’s not easy to get people to listen, but when they do, engage them. Effective storytelling takes a kind of finesse and craft, or else people won’t get it. They won’t listen. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Your story doesn’t have to be Pulitzer Prize winning or get a standing ovation. All it takes for people to listen is for you to believe that your story is valid.
I’m telling you right now that it is valid, so own it.
When you believe your own story and come to terms with it, build the confidence to tell people, “Here I am world! I’m fucked up and beautiful. I am imperfect. I am human. Let me take you on a journey.” All else will follow.
Lastly, when someone is trying to tell you their story, listen. Good stories always have morals no matter the stage in their life, and you could always learn something new.
So what’s your journey?