We live in a sea of stories

by Nick on November 28, 2014

The stories we tell shape who we are and what we’ll become. They shape how we see others and our relationships with them. They shape how we see the world and what we think is possible or not. Our stories are how we make meaning, how we construct our ‘reality.’ Our stories have a habit of coming true.  We need to pause and think about the stories we tell because they create the frames in which our unthinking assumptions form as this story suggests …

A philosopher was sitting on a grassy bank a few miles outside the walls of a great city. A traveller approached, “Is this the right road for Athens?”

“Indeed it is,” said the philosopher, “Keep on walking. You can’t miss it.”

“Tell me,” said the traveller “What are the people of Athens like?”

“Tell me where you’re from, and what the people there are like, and I’ll tell you about the people of Athens.”

“Well,” said the traveller, “I’m from Sparta and I can tell you that the people there are the most generous, hospitable, and kindest people on the planet.”

“I’m sure you’ll find the people of Athens much the same.”

Twenty minutes later another traveller approached. “Is this the right road for Athens?”

“Indeed it is,” said the philosopher, “Keep on walking. You can’t miss it.”

“Tell me,” said the traveller “What are the people of Athens like?”

“Tell me where you’re from, and what the people there are like, and I’ll tell you about the people of Athens.”

“Well,” said the traveller, “I’m from Sparta and I can tell you that the people there are the meanest, most inhospitable, and unkindest people on the planet.”

“I’m sure you’ll find the people of Athens much the same.”

 

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Sandy December 20, 2014 at 17:17

I was asked to speak during the ceremony at my nephew’s wedding. The beginning of a new journey seemed like the perfect place to tell this story. My biggest wish for them is that they would frame their life together with stories of kindness and empathy. Thank you for the brilliant reminder.

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