What Is a Story?
Nowadays, I hear the word ‘storytelling’ being thrown around a lot.
It seems to be the latest buzzword.
People of all industries are rallying around the art of stories.
‘Ditch the Powerpoint & tell more stories!’ they say.
But what’s funny is that many of these individuals do not even tell you what a story is.
They just assume that you know.
So question: what is a story?
This may seem like a very straightforward answer at first.
But when you try to answer it for yourself, that’s when you realize that the description is harder than it seems.
And that’s the point.
Defining a story is very difficult because, at the root of it, a story is a projection of our internal world.
Thus far, I have built my entire ArmaniTalks brand on the back of storytelling.
I have used this art to build a global following of over 10,000s of people all around the planet.
And today, I want to break down what is a story.
This article will teach you that EVERYONE is a storyteller.
It’s just a matter of uncovering it.
How the Mainstream Defines a Story
The mainstream has a definition of a story which is:
An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
‘What do you think about that definition of a story Armani?’
I think it’s okay.
But I feel like it’s not telling the full picture.
That definition of story is sort of like me saying a basketball player puts a ball through a hoop.
This definition of a basketball player isn’t wrong.
But it undermines the other variables involved in basketball.
Such as dribbling, defending, rebounding, etc.
The mainstream defines a story in only one way.
And that is to say that a story is a recollection of events.
This idea assumes that a story is a tangible content.
While in reality, it is intangible.
What REALLY is a Story?
I view something as a story if it connects with the core elements of a human.
The core elements of a human are the elements which were never taught, it was engrained.
2 Core Elements:
No one sat you down one day & told you how to imagine. It just sort of happened.
No one sat you down one day & told you how to feel emotions. Once again, it just sort of happened.
A story is a vehicle towards engaging a human’s imagination & emotions.
If you can unlock those 2 elements, then you have a story in your hands.
This paradigm shift is HUGE.
Now you realize that a recollection of events is a form of storytelling, sure.
But so is a song which puts the listener in a state of trance.
The state of trance activates the listener’s imagination and emotions.
Why a Story is Intangible & Not Tangible
So earlier, I was saying a story is not necessarily tangible, but more so an intangible perception.
What does this mean?
Well, a few years ago, when I was in Toastmasters, I was competing in the humor competition.
And no one nearby me had any toothpaste.
The story was about how I went on a journey to track down some toothpaste.
By then end of the story, I noticed many people in the room were laughing.
While 3 of them didn’t crack a smile.
I was giving everyone in the room the same information.
But why was the reaction so different?
It’s because humans process a story based on THEIR life experiences.
I came to learn that the people who did not laugh at all were not able to relate to my story.
These individuals have never gone on a cruise or don’t travel much.
But the people who were cracking up had certain experiences they were able to draw on to process my story.
Therefore, my words allowed them to engage their imagination & emotions.
This goes to show that storytelling is more of a perception-based process.
Just because your content engaged one group’s imagination & emotions does not mean it will engage another group’s.
The power to process the story is in the eyes of the beholder.
How To Become a Better Storyteller
The best way to become a better storyteller is by getting to know yourself better.
What you’ll notice is that a lot of people who want to learn storytelling, learn the tactics, not the fundamentals.
They take classes on how to write a conflict, what words to use, how long to make it.
All bells and whistles.
You need to know yourself at the very core fundamental level.
What engages YOUR imagination & emotions?
Personally, for me, it’s sharing my life via words.
Which is why I started ArmaniTalks and share stories about my life experiences.
And I leverage words through channels such as blogging, YouTube, public speaking etc.
But I have a friend who leverages the piano.
When he plays the piano, he is able to engage his core self.
This allows him to practice & have fun at the same time.
Here’s the kicker…
When you are doing something that GENUINELY resonates with you, that’s when it resonates with many others.
Because others are processing your stories via their life experiences.
Will everyone enjoy it?
But many will.
That’s how authentic storytellers are born.
You have to realize, art & storytelling are one and the same.
Our ancient ancestors didn’t have words, a paper or pencil.
So they told their story through cave paintings.
They drew images of how they processed the world.
We all have the power of storytelling within us because we all have interests.
Things that light a fire in our world.
Those interests, when harnessed & shared are you sharing your story.
You put a piece of your life behind the artwork.
That’s when others connect with ya.
Unlock your Inner Storyteller
So there you have it.
We are all storytellers to a certain extent.
It just comes down to finding out what engages YOUR imagination & emotions.
Double down on that.
Whether it’s making YouTube videos, rapping, playing a musical instrument etc.
Get good at the task.
Use the task to get to know yourself.
Then, share it with the world.
You are living in the internet era you know. The potential of a global brand rests in the palm of your fingers.
It’s called a smartphone.
Once you share the art, other humans will process it via their life experiences.
These humans will place themselves in your story & play it out from their lens.
You have created a perception based art that will outlast you.
Storytelling is a primal form of communication that will never go out of style.
Storytellers rule the world.
And they maintain their authenticity while doing it.
Now go find a vehicle to make your mark.