Offer Better Stories: Life Quote #3

These are the essential quotes that define my life philosophy.

The Quote:


“The one who would change people must offer better stories.”


What It Means:

Unlike the first two life quotes, I know the source of this one. It is Will Willimon, a leading United Methodist writer and one whom I’ve had the honor of editing in my new work at Abingdon Press. The quote is a elegant summary of the power of story and the need to persuade and cajole in all of life – to your family, friends and neighbors, to your collegaues and professional acquiantances.

I used to think, especially among family and close friends, that the power of the idea was paramount: that techniques of persuasion were only necessary to convince outsiders, and that those who loved you would accept your ideas on merit. Such naiveté. It’s the wrong assumption, really. It’s not that people like or don’t like your ideas. They just need something to latch on to it – a story, a metaphor, some kind of hook that makes it personal. That doesn’t reduce the idea’s veracity or you as the originator to some kind of shyster or salesman, manipulating others.

If you have an idea and you’re convinced it will help in life – make yourself and others more efficient or morally better – then you need to sell it, with a story.