Stories move stones

As told yesterday, stories are great communication tools. Do you also know that the power of stories is strong enough to move stones?
No, that came out wrong. Truth is that a good story can move lots of stones for hundreds of years!
This feature of storytelling came to my attention when walking in the forest surrounding the little village where I live. At a certain place,
you find a huge pile of stones. A pile created by village people that through hundreds of years have thrown stones at the same spot.

Why? I asked my new neighbour at our first walk together. I had just witnessed her picking up a stone and throwing it on a pile
of grey, ordinary stones. The size of the pile was rather large and seemed misplaced, not a natural formation at all, although partly
covered by green moss. For a moment she just looked at me, trying to recall what on earth I was talking about. Then I got my explanation:
Well, if you don’t, the story says, an old spirit will curse you and all sorts of bad luck will come upon you.

So, people living in the area throw a stone on the same spot whenever passing by, even though hardly anyone remembers when it started,
or why. Truth is; they’re often note even noticing that they do it. It’s a habit, an automatized thing one do without even thinking
about it. And I do that too! It’s not that automatized yet, but as I see it as a far better option than possibly being cursed and haunted
by ghosts…

Stories can move stones. Not only in the surroundings of a rural village.
The building of big historical monuments such as the pyramids, or any of the ancient cathedrals of Europe, was a process of hard work
moving stones around. Through centuries. By people that would never live to see the end result! How is that even possible?

You know what I’m going to say: Great things happen by the power of great stories.

Well, it’s true! Because great stories moves people, not only to tear or laughter but also into action. They can also give us visions and
missions about the future, thrilling enough to invest ourselves beyond normal reasons. A story related to cathedral buildings goes like this:

A man visiting the building site of cathedral asks one of the brick carriers: How is it possible for you to continue, day after day, with
this endless work… Stacking bricks!?
The brick carrier quickly respond: I’m not stacking bricks. I’m building a cathedral!

When people invest themselves, it’s because they found a story they want to be a part of. It has to be relevant and urgent but not
necessarily their own. When Martin Luther King said the famous words “I have a dream”, he told a story about a longed or future.
A story that was relevant and urgent enough to make people stand up for it. They not only joined in to HIS dream, it was their dream
now visualized by King. His story turned this dream into a vision of a possible future. A vision that become their mission; the time
and place to start making it happen had come!

Stories will make it happen for you. Whenever you want people to invest themselves in your enterprise, you only need to figure out
how to create a story that will make them share your dream, your vision. A story urgent enough to win their hearts and make them invest
themselves or at least their time and money.

So, what’s your winning story?

Don’t worry if you don’t have a straight answer, it takes time and hard work to figure that out. I’m still wondering what kind of story
that would make my teenagers remember to pick up their stuff…

Coming up next: How to travel through time and space – by the power of stories!

This text is part 2 of chapter 1: the Power of storytelling in my coming book about storytelling within business.
To read previous writing, go to the blog page or choose the tag storytelling!

Åsa Rydhard is the pastor who has taken her knowledge about storytelling to a higher level. With a Master’s degree in Applied Cultural Analysis (MACA) she is specialized in storytelling as a communcation tool. As a consultant she uses her expertise to ensure that businesses understand how storytelling can be strategically used as a communciation tool to grow their customer’s interest and increase their market share.



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