These posts are adapted from the 20 minute lessons on story telling presented by Dan at the beginning of our Workshop! Workshop! show. All links are affiliate links.
You don’t need a reason to tell a story.
We’ve been studying, producing, and training storytellers since 2011 and that’s the #1 thing we’ve learned. That’s the truest thing we know. You don’t have to perform at a show or competition. You don’t have to want to be the best storyteller in the world or even define yourself as a, “Storyteller.” You definitely don’t have to want a million views on YouTube.
Telling Stories is Good in and of Itself. (A 5L1K Pillar)
Communicating with people, being good at telling stories, creating art is simply fun and rewarding!
Whatever your motivation for practicing, storytelling is something everyone can get better at. It is skill based; you can get better by practicing.
Now, not everyone agrees with that. There’s a number of ways I see people talking and thinking about the act of learning. One distinction people make is between, “Skill comes from within,” or, “Skills come from without.” You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t teach writing.” That’s an example of someone who thinks skills come from within.
Rarely does anyone think, all skills come from within. You’re either naturally good at a task or you’re not. Many people, think there are special categories of skills that are only attained naturally. Both math and writing often fall into this category. Those people think that you’re naturally talented or you’re not; you, “Either got it, or you don’t.”
Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford, describes people who ascribe to this view as Entity Theorists.
At the other end of that spectrum are the Incremental Theorists. That’s somebody who thinks you work at something and slowly, over repetitions, you get better and better. Of course, most of us probably have some sort of sliding scale depending on the skill when it comes to this.
We tell ourselves, “Well, maybe I could be good at math but I don’t like it; so we’ll never find out.” Motivation is often the button on the scale slider. (Full disclosure: I would have graduated with a degree in math at OSU if they hadn’t shuttered the program and shuffled me into CS. I <3 Math.)
How You Think About Skills Matters, Here’s Why!
But one of the things people who have studied this have found is, if you are more of an incrementalist and think everything is a skill, If you fail you have this sort of light bulb go off where you say, “Well either my strategy was wrong, or my effort was wrong!”
If on the other hand you have this Entity mindset you tend to think, “Oh, this is just something that I’m not good at.” You give up, and you don’t work at it anymore. Here at Story Luck we’re very big into the idea of the incremental theory. So go out, tell stories! Don’t worry about if you’re as good as you want to be. You don’t have to be working toward some goal. Have fun!
Storytelling is rewarding on its own. We’ve taught 100s of people who believed they just weren’t storytellers. Rest assured, you’ll get better!
If you are looking for a safe place to try a story out. Dan runs a free, weekly, private workshop. Friend him on Facebook and let him know you’re interested in signing up.