The Morals of Our Stories

From Strategy + Business article in PwC’s online magazine:

“Stories have always been about ethics. They help listeners find the right path in the face of ambiguity and competing desires. The King Midas story juxtaposes commercial desires against social desires. Narcissus was so entranced with his reflection in the water, he died of thirst. The morals expressed in story form teach us how to negotiate the paradoxical dilemmas that all businesspeople — that all humans — must navigate and reconcile: growth and sustainability, freedom and safety, inclusion and exclusion, control and collaboration.

And the stories you pick to tell can change your view. Truly powerful stories — like the fables and myths — tend to take small circles of concern and make them bigger.”

I’m gaining faith that people are ready to stop controlling narratives and start recruiting multiple narratives for bigger picture, not to mention, more creative solutions! Are you seeing the same shift? Please speak up, we could all use a little more faith at this point.




1 thought on “The Morals of Our Stories”

  1. Nailed it again, Annette.

    People often ask me what books to read to learn about leadership and without hesitation, I respond with Aesop’s Fables and Grimm’s fairy tales. The simple (but big T) truths in these stories tell us more about ourselves and others than all the well-spun, focus- group tested, talking points and narratives we see today.

    We often conflate complicated with hard and simple with easy. I’ve found that the opposite is true. The parables and morals of the time-tested stories are all pretty simple. Living them is hard. Most of the complicated things in our lives (cell phones, computers, cars, etc.) are those that make our lives easier not harder.

    We need to recognize that we are flawed beings and that fact makes it impossible to create utopia. But even if we can’t create a utopia, we can make portions of our lives and the lives of others better. That is why I believe in teaching about leadership and I think that is why you believe in teaching about stories. I think they are both intertwined. Our goal should be improvement, not perfection. And the stories you relate to help us do that.

    Thank you.


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