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The Secret Power of Storytelling: Why Does Telling Tales Matter?

Ever caught yourself fixated on a friend while he or she is telling a story? It seems there’s a certain power in storytelling that makes us absorbed with the sharer.

Here, you’ll discover:

  • The interesting effects and power of storytelling
  • How Heroes tells a good story
  • Who the ultimate storyteller is

Enough chit-chat. Let’s dive in!

What is the Power of Storytelling?

power of storytelling - happy family
photo credit: canva

Stories are powerful! A single-story can change anything. From a person’s mindset even to the course of history. That is its strength.

In many ways, everyone has a story to tell. But many believe they lack the means to tell it.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening to a good story?

Most of us grew up reading and listening to different kinds of stories. Even in today’s modern time, people share stories with just a click of a button.

And here we are, hooked and caught up in knowing so much more about other people’s daily lives and happenings.

If you think about it, why are we, in some sense, drawn to knowing more?

Let’s find out in the next section.

The Story and The Mind

Have you ever felt nostalgic when you heard or read a particular story?

Listening to great tales feels like you are being transported in time or living the life of the storyteller.

Our minds get into a state of optimism and bliss when we are submerged in a story that we can totally relate to.

happy reading
photo credit: canva

According to storytelling specialist and doctor in communication Heather Thompson-Day, a fascinating effect of stories is that it releases oxytocin.

Familiar?

Yes. It’s the “love hormone.”

To bring light to this, we can look into the book “The Moral Molecule.” It expounds on the subject matter about storytelling and the brain’s drive to release oxytocin.

Its author, Dr. Paul J. Zak, is the Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and a Professor of Economics, Psychology, and Management at Claremont University.

He further discusses here what happens when our brains release this hormone.

In his studies, he showed that there are eight building blocks for organizational trust. He created a handy acronym, so they are easily remembered as OXYTOCIN:

  • Ovation: recognize high performers
  • Expectation: design difficult but achievable challenges
  • Yield: train extensively and delegate generously
  • Transfer: facilitate job crafting
  • Openness: share information broadly
  • Caring: intentionally build relationships
  • Invest: promote personal and professional growth
  • Natural: be authentic and vulnerable
happy woman
photo credit: canva

To put it in simple terms, oxytocin is the culprit of our sensation, the reason why we love listening to stories.

It is the same hormone that is being released when you are hugged by loved ones, when you first hold your baby, or even when you look into the eyes of a person you admire.

When we are all ears to a good story, the brain releases the refered hormone. That is why we tend to feel empathy and connection towards the sharer.

You Only Need Two Things to Improve Your Storytelling

Some people struggle to tell a good story, not when it comes to arrangement, grammar, and all; rather, it’s usually the public speaking aspect of storytelling that scares them.

Some would rather die or eat dirt than talk in front of a large crowd.

According to Pastor Sam Neves, project director of Heroes: The Bible Trivia Game, there are things you can do to deal with nervousness when telling a story.

1. Share your life.

You can start your talk with a story about your personal experiences in life.

You can take this event in your life and talk about how it is symbolic to you.

Explain how this specific event in your life has impacted you and how this experience brought significance to the person you are now.

friends telling stories
photo credit: canva

Don’t worry if your stories seem dull to you or not impressive enough.

It is actually rare that personal experiences become bad stories.

Pastor Sam shares that there’s no better story than our own. We call these “testimonies.”

2. Be open to communication.

The stories that we share are like the epilog to the movie of our lives.

These tales are really important components of human connection and relationship building.

According to Pastor Sam, we can make a cross-section between communication and psychology.

The Psychology of Stories Demystified

So, there is a personality test called “The Big Five.”

Just so you know, the “Big Five” aspects of personality are extensively employed in psychological research and study. 

The personality differences in individuals have been studied and measured, using these variables for many decades now. You might even have taken this test.

But we will be talking about the two poles of one personality aspect that are directly associated with storytelling. These are extraversion and introversion.

Pastor Sam and Dr. Thompson-Day talked about the two specific dimensions or personality types that are affected when it comes to public speaking or sharing our stories.

To view the full discussion, you can watch it here:

The extroverted

As discussed by Pastor Sam, one of the dimensions of The Big Five is extraversion.                                             

Extraversion refers to a person’s high level of comfort with his or her environment.

It characterizes a person by the following:

  • excitability 
  • sociability 
  • talkativeness 
  • assertiveness
  • high emotional expressiveness

A person that scores high in extraversion is usually comfortable talking and opening up with new people.

These kinds of people are used to telling their stories and they are often like an open book.

Extroverted people are usually the ones who easily make friends because they are brave enough to walk right up to you and say “Hi!”

They’re usually open to talk about anything and everything under the sun.

The introverted

Now, the opposite of extroverts.

Introverts don’t normally speak as easily, just as Pastor Sam explained in his talk with Dr. Thompson-Day.

But the moment they decide to take a leap of faith and begin to speak, it creates an impact.

When introverts tell a story, it produces this immediate silence in the room. It’s because, at that moment, they are coming out of their shell to share something.

group dynamics
photo credit: canva

You could feel like you’re spectating some sort of miraculous phenomenon. So rare, you are dumbfounded and in full attention to that once-quiet person in the corner of the room.

At that moment, you finally see who they are as they bare themselves in front of everyone with their words.

Pastor Sam emphasizes how we can become attracted to anybody who says something and just believe it.

The Ultimate and Greatest Storyteller

The Bible contains the greatest stories. Stories that have transformed mankind.

Talking about the heroes and their stories, Heroes: The Bible Trivia Game brings light to storytelling.

Just as Pastor Sam describes, “Heroes brings back the heroes of the Bible in a way that restores the narrative.”

The usual stories of Bible heroes have been presented in hygienic ways.

But the Bible doesn’t hold back any punches against the heroes of the Holy Book.

praise God
photo credit: https://rsc.byu.edu/sperry-symposium-classics-old-testament/hast-thou-considered-my-servant-job

Therefore, their flaws are revealed, which makes them relatable. That’s why you’re able to connect to them.

Knowing these heroes in a realistic perspective changes our views. We realize they sinned, just like us. That makes them humans and real and we can relate to them.

From Adam to John and all other Bible heroes in between, there’s one ultimate Hero: God.

He even sent His Son, Jesus, to proclaim the Word Himself.

Jesus also used stories to tell God’s message. And His life became a story that changed the world today.

Jesus preaching
photo credit: https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-stories/sermon-on-the-mount-bible-verses-meaning.html

But God’s storytelling doesn’t end there. It goes on, and it has been passed down to us.

We may not see it at first, but we have our own hero stories in the making. He is writing our very own unique and beautiful stories, so we may share them.

Prepare to Share

As great as God is, He shares His story through us. No life is boring. Everyone has a story to tell. The lives of Bible heroes, like Job or Joseph, were not complete fairy tales. They were full of challenges and beautiful victories.

If you’re going through a tough time or a period in your life that you don’t understand, have faith. It will turn into a great story—your testimony. 

This testimony will touch and inspire others in ways you can’t imagine. It may even change their lives.

Has Heroes kindled the heart of the hero within you? What’s your heroic story to share? We’d love to hear it!

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