finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Friday, May 9, 2014

Danger of a Single Story

I recently watched a TED talk given by Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  During this talk she eloquently described what she calls, “the danger of a single story.” She had a horrific tale of growing up in Nigeria, but when she tells that story, she is wary. She is aware of how it adds to the collective ONE story people know about Nigeria: BAD. Recent events involving the kidnapped girls in Nigeria is case in point and adds to the story. Nigeria, and even Africa as a whole is dangerous and bad.

This blanket statement of course isn't true. One story never is. It is always more complicated than that. There is usually more than one story.

When two people have opposing stories, it is said that the truth usually lies somewhere between each story. I have found this to be almost always true. Our story is just that---our story! Is it the truth? Is there a truth? Or is there only your  truth?

Look at this in regards to the people you work with or those you are in a relationship with. When we have a conflict or disagreement, our story is usually the "right" one, right? That's the "true" one --- the single story. But of course, that's dangerous. There's always more than one side to every story, perhaps even more than one story. Africa is a beautiful and diverse continent with a varied and fascinating history. It's more than the single story of danger.

People can be like that too. They can be more complicated than we remember. Often we label them. My mom is like that or John is like this. Done. We know them. That's who they are. The end. But people are more complicated than that. In fact, people have more than one story too. They are more than one story. We have to be present with them moment to moment to discover who they really are in this moment, not last week or last year, but in this moment. Who is standing in front of you? What are they offering you now? What's their story?

Improv training encourages to look and live thoroughly in EACH moment, to not assume anything, because each moment is new. We're creating a story right now! ---making it up! And aren't we making it up in real life too?

If you'd like me to come into you group, team, organization or company and teach more of these lessons through improvisation, please be in touch. Training dates now available through this fall.

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