“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller is sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs
Stories broaden our minds, engage, provoke, inspire and connect us. That’s the ultimate power of a story and whoever carries the story reaps the proceeds. I am not your favorite storyteller as you’d think of or wish for but I do have stories nonetheless. I harbor love for stories and this is the reason as to why most often I’ll be listening to, watching or reading something. I think it’s also partly attributed to my love for learning which I am glad I have the ability to nurture. Have you ever listened to a story that transformed your life? Have you bought a product because of the story you heard about the company? Have you liked someone because of what others said about them? The list is endless and the common factor is the story behind it.
I am a fun of David Rubenstein Show on Bloomberg Tv, a collection of interviews with C-suit executives, government officials and the greatest influencers in the world to understand how they succeed at what they do and to inspire generations. Today as I write this, I had a moment to watch the Top Story Show on NTV that reminded me of an interview that David Rubenstein did of Warren Buffet. Through the interview, Buffet describes making a great investment decision to writing a story. In writing a story you know what you want to write about, how you want to write about it, what’s expected of the consumer of that content and ultimately it’s impact. As an investor writing a story, you need to look at these particular features in the investment decision.
The reason as to why I am writing about this is because I have come to acknowledge that the story that is shared about an entity carries weight. If optimized it either sells or destroys them. In investment decisions like Buffet makes, it’s about convincing individuals to put their money with you to invest and therefore he has to make it stick while at the same time selling a narrative that plays to the benefit of your investors. Being an influential personality, he can sell his identity as an investor to reap returns and align market trends. In line with this, I took time to rethink the African narrative. Often times we talk about poverty, suffering and desperation of the African people. In contrast, having traversed some of remote places in the continent, I am amazed by the calm and level of contentment that’s commonplace in most rural communities. There’s poverty but it’s in comparison to a standard that doesn’t belong to the people being assessed. From analysis, I’ve realized that this narrative sells and keeps financing coming to Africa but denying the African people a chance to work meaningfully to advance and thrive. We accept mediocrity because it’s been a common narrative that we are poor.
I recently read an article by a young person seeking support from a donor organization and the core of his appeal was that he is from Africa which definitely points to poverty. What image does this send out? How does this play on your personal development? Do you believe you are incapable of making meaningful advances as a person with your community? We have gave others control over our lives for so long and it’s time we start claiming it because we can do better. Shape your story, tell it as you perceive it not from the perspective of a donor you hope to come around for you and look at the ultimately value of that story. Be authentic and honest.
“Marketing is the art of telling a story that moves people to act.” – Bernadette Jiwa