Story

Part two in a series of six posts on my experience with the high-concept, high-touch aptitudes presented in Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind, that are needed to bring us into the new conceptual era.  Check the original post for background.

I’ve been mulling over this idea for the past week, trying to pick the best travel story or Portugal moment to depict this next aptitude that is presented in A Whole New Mind.  I mean, not only do we all have stories, but me, someone who likes to write them down, must have plenty to choose from! I’m still searching for that perfect story to share with you and I have yet to find it.  But something else occurred to me that I realized was just as good.

My name is Maureen.  I just turned 28.  I’m from Southern California.  
I’m not working at the moment, in fact, I just quit a really amazing job.  
I don’t know anyone here in Portugal.  I came by myself.  I am not sure 
how long I’ll stay.  I speak a bit of Portuguese.

That was uh…a monologue I seemed to repeat on a daily basis for the first 6 weeks of my experience in Portugal.  The typical gamut of questions raised were responded to with the above basic responses.  What type of reaction do you think I got from people?

Total dumbfoundedness. And then…silence. No further questions.

I really perplexed those Portuguese. They just didn’t get it, didn’t get me, and therefore I was really hard to place and to understand.  I was a compilation of odd facts that alluded to no real sense of meaning.    What I lacked was a story.

Humans understand the world through stories, not numbers and logic.  We connect to others through stories, and it is also how we present ourself to the world.  Stories allow us to give perspective and context to the events and experiences we go through in life.  It’s the emotional punch, as Dan Pink would say, that gives information meaning.

So it wasn’t the Portuguese that couldn’t make sense of me.  It could have been anyone.  I hadn’t created a story to share and therefore I hadn’t given myself or my moment in time in that place any tangible meaning. Now I’m back, and I’ve thought a lot about my story- how to shape my experience into something tangible that can take a verbal form and be relayed to my community here at home.  Not only has it helped me share with others, but it has helped me make sense of my own journey.  In the professional realm, writing a resume and presenting myself to potential employers definitely calls on me to create a story- to compile a bunch of facts and experiences into something that others can relate to and conceptualize.  This process has required me to see a set of events from many different perspectives.  For me it has made some things that I’d deem quite ordinary, quite rich.    And the beauty is- we all have amazing stories.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of shifting how we share them.  Or even, how we create them.

I’ll never forget a comment someone made to me shortly before I left for Europe upon telling them my plan.  They said, “Wow Maureen, it sounds like you are in a movie from the past…a young woman leaves home with no boyfriend, no bags, no master plan- in search of a great adventure into the unknown.”  I thought it was the perfect beginning line for a really amazing story.

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~ by maureenmoore on December 9, 2009.

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