Don’t you just love a good story? Perhaps you grew up having a story read to you every evening. Even when they were about hat-wearing cats or spiders named Charlotte, those stories could capture your imagination and enable you to enter into the narrative.
Maybe you still enjoy cuddling up with a good novel today. You may even have a few treasured books sitting on your shelf, waiting to be read again and again.
A good story can entertain, it can inspire, and it can even influence how you think. It might only take a few words, or it could span several volumes. Stories can be powerful. So what is it that makes a story a good story?
A good story is one that makes you feel something. It makes you believe you are part of the plot. It can be sad, uplifting, humorous, inspiring… whatever. In some way, it invokes an emotion that draws you in.
If you want to hear some of the best storytellers in the world today, just watch the evening newscasts. The reporters are not just disseminating information; they are telling stories. And often they are able to incite some kind of an emotional response.
Consider the heartbreaking stories of those suffering as a result of earthquakes or volcanoes. Or the tear-jerking reports of families suffering a tragic lose. Or the heartwarming tales of the disabled overcoming great odds. The newscasters tell these stories in such a way that you empathize with the subjects and become invested in their lives. You develop an emotional connection with them.
A good story is also memorable—whether it’s because of the emotional component, the characters, a catchphrase, or the imagery. Even now, you can likely recall your favorite childhood stories. These become imprinted on your memory, allowing you to fondly look back at them days, weeks, or even years later.
And a truly great story is one that is life-changing. It goes beyond just creating a feeling or a memory; it creates a desire to become a better person. Perhaps it calls you to action, challenges your value system, or enables you to see life in a brand new light. It may even cause you to re-examine your worldview.
But when you combine a great story with a great communicator, it’s magic. Those stories are able to compel, captivate, and penetrate to the heart. If you can wield a story in that way, you can change the world.