Brain Food #768: The best story wins
"Change the story, change the world."
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Thoughts of the day
An interesting concept I came across recently was that ‘the best story wins.’ For example, it is not necessarily the first person that discovers something or presents a groundbreaking new theory that will gain recognition for it, but the person that communicates this in the most captivating way.
Evolution was not discovered by Darwin, but by Alfred Russel Wallace. People like Alain de Botton and Maria Popova are not necessarily presenting any groundbreaking new ideas, they are merely packaging up the product of the minds of great thinkers in a more appealing, accessible way. Yuval Noah Harari turned the already-written history of mankind into a bestselling story that has sold twelve million copies to date.
And consider stories being retold, such as that of Hamlet, from The Lion King to multiple on-screen and on-stage adaptations. The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter bear uncanny similarities, and beyond narratives, the world’s most popular songs follow, more or less, the same four-chord progression (famously satirised by comedy band The Axis of Awesome in 2009).
Only a handful of those gain recognition, even if the premise is the same. Within the realm of creativity, the elusive idea of originality is not to be found in the idea itself, but in the method of its execution.
What this suggests is that a good story can be retold time and time again. And, on a personal level, how we record and share a story forms the experience itself, what is commonly referred to as framing, or perspective. Even within repeated stories in one’s life, the second time we try to tell it might be better than the first.
“There's always a story. It's all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything's got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.”
— Terry Pratchett
Consider how many ways there are in which the sun can be captured, and what stories each rendition can tell. Very often, the only limit is ourselves, and our very own perception. The best story may still be out there, waiting to be told.
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