During a recent commercial shoot I asked four 1st graders what makes them afraid. One kid said bees and described in fantastical detail what it feels like to be stung by thousands of them. Pretty quickly though the entire group was terrified of tornadoes. It started with how they sound as they bear down on your house. And within seconds we were at an impromptu support group for lilapsophobia.
Throughout the shoot this bandwagoning kept happening. One kid would tell a story focusing on X and the rest of them would start telling the same story. It was fascinating. And annoying. I mean, obviously tornadoes are horrifying. But have some originality, kids.
Later in the week we had a potential client in the office that works with service dogs. He brought one of the dogs in.
And as they talked about the dogs I found myself wanting to tell them all my dog stories. I had a neurological need to mirror their stories. (P.S. I’m 99% sure this is a real thing our brain does. I’m just too lazy to go find the link and paste it in here. Let’s just assume it’s science.)
All this got me thinking. What stories am I telling in the various rooms and groups I find myself in? What chain reactions am I causing among my friends and peers? We’ve all been at work where the stories turn toxic and we’re all complaining about X. The color and tone of a room is determined by the stories we tell. We’re surrounded by mirrors who can’t help but reflect back what we’re putting out.
So the next time you’re in the break room bitching about tornadoes, stop it. Tell a new story. Talk about puppies. And if you have nothing good to say about puppies then go away. Remove yourself from society because you’re a danger to us all.
I kid. But seriously, let’s tell better stories to each other. Like this morning, Henry (my 3-year-old) ran up to our babysitter, Brianna, and gave her a huge hug. I drove to work overwhelmed with gratitude for what she’s added to our family.
So mirror that kind of story back to me. Fill me up with even more love today. You have that power.
Photo courtesy of Rebel Pilgrim Creative Agency