Stories are the programming language of the mind

Stories change more minds than facts. The way to change someone’s mind is not to present them with overwhelming evidence but to motivate them with overwhelming emotion.

James Clear

Recently came across this super quote by James Clear which talks about how stories take a narrative forward in a more effective manner than mere facts. In fact, the stories have been called as programming languages for the mind and have since time immemorial been used to drive teachings and lessons across generations. All famous spiritual leaders use stories to convey their teachings as they convey the core message in an interesting manner. In additional stories provide context to the core message(facts) and thus making it very relatable to one’s lives, this makes it easier for people to digest the facts. The second aspect of why stories are better than mere facts is that stories have the inherent nature to propagate the message further. The people will pick up the stories and narrate it to take the message beyond the original recipients. A great example of this is the legendary story around MTR founder( an iconic restaurant in Bangalore) not wanting to compromise on quality when the government imposed pricing restrictions on food during the emergency(1977). The legend has it that he decided to shut down the restaurant for a few months as he was not ready to serve low quality food to their patrons. To keep his staff occupied he decided to make ready to use Rava Idli mix. This story is still quoted by many folks after 40+ years. That is the power of the story, it takes the basic fact of MTR owner not wanting to compromise on quality and makes it into a legend.

“Stories are a high-level language for programming people.” –

Naval Ravikanth

Storys build connections

Stories build connections that are not possible to do by mere words. Found this powerful piece of content on this blog <Why stories matter>, am reproducing part of the blog here as I found it to be very powerful.

“Jacqueline Novogratz wants to help entrepreneurs in Africa and Asia transform their communities through innovation. How can they do this? Through patient capital investments from people like you and me, and through companies like those in which we work.

But that’s just information. Before you continue reading, please watch this three-minute video

How did Jacqueline’s story make you feel? Did you feel a connection with her and her cause?That’s the power of a story. The information I gave you on Jacqueline couldn’t do that job”

The connection which one felt with Jacquline’s story is a sort of connection which only stories can make.

Stories build culture

Given that stories have so much influence on people, leaders and organization should focus on building stories to develop a culture and as leaders, we should also use a bit of storytelling to drive key messages .A beautiful example of how this has been used in driving the values in an organization is that of Tally. Tally had a strong belief that they would charge customers only when they add value to them. This is is one of the core values which they wanted everyone in the organization to be aware of and use it as a guiding principle for all employees in dealing with customers. By merely stating this the employees would not have got the message effectively. Instead, most people in Tally know about this value because they have heard the following story. This is about a businessman Hyderabad who was a Tally customer and he had just renewed his Tally license for the year. Unfortunately, his godown ( where he stores his goods) caught fire due to which the businessman had to face a complete loss of his business. After coming to know of this the Tally representative promptly repaid the license fees to the businessman. The businessman was surprised at this gesture from Tally and asked the representative on why they decided to relay the license fees. The representative told them since you did not have a business and would not be using Tally it does not make sense for them to charge a license fee. This true story provides all Tally employees an example to emulate the story values which the company strongly believes. 

Thus stories have the ability to change the mindset of people than mere statements of facts and we should spend time to build stories to communicate with our colleagues, family!

PS: I heard the Tally story from a friend and found that this is a very powerful example of how stories can influence culture and values of an organization.

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