A story for change

A story can make change happen.

We all have a vision in our head that dictates how we interact with the world. Well, a story is the most efficient way to change that vision. It doesn’t have to be a spectacular, compelling story told by a master speaker. It just has to hit the right spot. It can actually be amazingly simple.

A few years ago, I was constantly stuggling to catch up with the dishes piling up in the sink. I knew I needed to start washing them after each meal, but I just couldn’t stick to it. I would put them in the sink, let¬†them accumulate, until they¬†become way too numerous. I would then spend 40 minutes washing them. The next day, I would already have the dishes of the last three meals piling up, but I would say to myself ‘Oh, come on, I washed dishes for 40 minutes just yesterday. Give me a break !’. And it would start all over again. Until one day, I entered my home and found my sink empty (for once !). I looked at the empty sink and had this somewhat epiphany : the person who designed the sink didn’t make it hollow so that we can store dirty dishes in it. She made it hollow so that we have the space to turn and return a big pan while washing it.

That very simple realization made me look at the sink in a whole new different way. And from this point, I have been washing dishes after each meal. I find that it’s often just a simple phrasing that makes particular sense to me that allows me to stick to a new habit. A story can be as simple as that and still work.

Obviously, the vision in our head isn’t real, and the sink is the sink. You can use its hollowness to wash big pans or to store them. But we prefer to have one story to interpret the pointless sink. It’s the way our brain work.

So, next time you want people to embrace the change you are trying to make, evaluate what their vision is, and how yours varies from it. Maybe there is a story that can give a whole new meaning to the pointless sink.

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