Living Our Story Means Embracing Our Imperfections

I have talked may times about the importance and power of stories in our life and in our learning.

To help take my learning deeper, I have discovered fantastic authors that postion story in an even bigger context. One of those story leaders is Stephen Denny (@note_to_cmo).  

In this fantastic post, Why Do Brand Stories Work? The Societal, Cultural and Physical Reasons Why, Stephen helps us understand why stories matter and what makes story work in a way that I had not considered.

My Takeaways:

Stories not only help us understand and interpret the world; they give us “equipment for life.”  They teach us that the struggles we face have been faced before by generations stretching back to the dawn of time. They tell us, in other words, that we’re not alone, that we’re OK and that we’re doing it right. Or, conversely, that we’re not. Read your own destiny in the stories across time and culture.

Stories engage us on a cultural, societal and physical level. We respond to stories because we’re wired to. It’s how we teach our children, it’s how we learn and it’s how we articulate our needs and desires so other will comply.

And this is why/where getting our stories right matters most.

If we want people in our lives to “comply”;to do what we ask or need them to do. Then we need to remember this powerful point:

“For stories to ring true, they need imperfection at their core. Without flaws there is neither struggle nor redemption, no drama, no story”

Life’s imperfections make us worthy of attention.  ‘The writer must be true to truth.’ Because the only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing his imperfections. The perfect human being is uninteresting… it is the imperfections of life that are lovable. (Denny attributes writer Thomas Mann with this quote.)

Therein lies our biggest challenge and our greatest learning. Imperfection is what makes us unique. Imperfection is what makes us human. We can not and do not relate to “perfect.”

Consider the videos that spread and the stories that stick. The ones that resonate and touch us deeply are not the scripted, polished, post production perfections.  It is the raw, unedited and yes, imperfect that take hold.

So what does this mean?

Your life and your work are good stories, well told.

You have an important message to share. It takes courage and  patience to craft your storyline. As you ponder how to explain who you are in a fresh way to the listening world.

Remember this: The web and the world want and need your story.  So don’t be afraid to share yourself with the world; imperfections and all.

Here are a few resources to get you thinking:

Here are a few lessons with students to get them thinking:

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  • Durff

    Thankyou @angelamaiers – this post is perfect for the syllabus I am building for course project.

  • Stephen Denny

    I’d be paraphrasing screenwriting teacher Robert McKee by saying, in so many words, that all the interesting parts of life tend to come from the dark side. Our story doesn’t really begin until the wheels all fall off.

    Thanks so much for your kind words above!


  • kyliedunn

    This is a great post and it is so true. I have discovered this so much during the last year while doing my Year of TED project. Letting other people see my flaws in a very open way has not only been a very freeing experience, but really has improved the connection that I have with people in my life.

    New to the site, but I’m really looking forward to reading through some of the past posts.


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  • king

    Судьи и адвокаты в суде носить Парики в одном суде Британских из самых самобытных традиций, британской судебной системы в ряде влиятельных бывших британских колоний области, мы также можем увидеть это уникальное культурное отпечаток с Великобританией, например, в Китае области. Так почему же британские судьи и адвокаты в
    париков это? Многие исследования предложены различные исторические различные интерпретации, но все из них очень трудно убедить

  • Carolyn L Wisniewski

    @AngelaMaiers Your first link, “What makes a powerful story” doesn’t seem to be working.

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