Stories for Sale
Stories are one of my favorite things. All of life is a story, multiplied by many lives, across our globe. The stories intersect and interact with each other, creating the network of us and our actions, those things that we've done or undone (or that have been done or undone to us).
This is perhaps why films, books, and poetry (for example, music) are so timeless in our world. They are our record of our stories.
What are stories for sale?
We do not play a passive role in our stories. But, rather, we actively participate in the writing of many stories, including our own, all the time. And it is this truth that sets us up for the empire that is sale-driven marketing. It is an empire built on belief: that man can bend his story to be more like the story he desires through believing the desirable story, one he wishes to be entwined with his own.
Here are a few examples: the story of the working mom is one of speed, accomplishment, and striving. Does she want this to be part of her story? The story of the stay-at-home mom is one of caring, nurturing, and loving. Does she want this to be part of her story? The story of the Honda Accord is one of sensibility, honesty, and Japanese conscientiousness that exudes reliability and quality. Does he want this to be part of his story? The story of the BMW 3-series is one of excitement, Barvarian austerity, and rich-ness. Does he want this to be part of his story? The story of the Apple product is one of design, care, and integration. Does he want this to be part of his story? The story of the Microsoft product is one of down-to-business customization that says "techie." Does he want this to be part of his story? The products and lifestyles we encounter sell us their wares, and we buy them if we find it missing in our cart.
Sometimes stories are flung on us, whether good or not. Time and chance happen to us all: for example, one's story may contain illness as much as one's story may contain great health.
A person is also a story: the story of a man can be one of athletics and strength (brawn), or the story can be one of thought and communication (brain). When a woman sees a man, she thinks: Do I want this story to be part of my story? When a man or woman sees another man or woman, someone who could be his/her friend, he thinks: Do I want this story to be part of my story? Is there an attractive quality in this person's story that would benefit us both to encourage the intersection of our stories? I'm sure most don't think of our lives and friends in terms of stories, but it is an interesting perspective.
In depression, there is an anxiety that says, "my story is not good enough," or "I don't like my story." In extroverts, "my story will be more fun if it's near other people and their stories." In introverts, "my story will make more sense if I maintain a quiet retreat."
Each of us starts life with a collection of talents and gifts that provide us a way to achieve a purposeful usefulness through our service to other people. We are put-to-work, writing our own stories and helping those around us to write theirs. We hear stories around us, and buy the ones that most agree with our deepest desires.
Our story will be our legacy. Some individual stories will be remembered, but most will not. The collective legacy of many, however, will most certainly help to drive the future of those who come after our stories have been written. What should this story say? Having this thought in mind can help us write better stories today.