Saturday, January 18, 2014

Stories: So What?

I read an article quite a while ago about the power of stories, but I'm not convinced.  The article is here:  In response to this article, here's my two cents. 

I, for one, dislike stories.  Maybe I've just been exposed to too many of the bad stories, but I think they are dangerous.  I want data, statistics, evidence, etc., and tend to believe that one anecdotal story cannot be used to describe the whole picture or initiate change.  In fact, stories can and often are the tale of an "exception", leading people to believe they are the "rule", thus creating a mentality that is poisonous to one's purpose or goals.  I understand the power of stories, and acknowledge that they can be used as good examples to support data or an initiative; but they should not be used alone.  Unchecked by data and reality, stories can run wild.  Just because so-and-so did this amazing thing there, doesn't mean you can re-create it here.  The worst is when somebody tries to contradict me with an anecdote, to which I respond by asking them to show me the data.  If the anecdote is representative of 1% of the occurences, then it may need to be addressed, but it is not a sky-is-falling scenario like the storyteller makes it out to be.  Storytellers can twist the truth and make people believe in false cause and effect relationships.  Many bad storytellers blab on and on and on, and at the end of their story, you either want to ask, "So what?" or "Why?" and they have an answer to neither; these storytellers don't have a point and just like to talk and be acknowledged or validated.  

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