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From earliest childhood, we all love story time.We beg our parents for bedtime tales (as much to postpone "lights out" as to hear the stories, of course); we look forward to story hour in kindergarten; and we cluster around the volunteers in the children’s library as they read aloud.

As adults, we dress “story hour” in more sophisticated clothing and attend poetry readings, literature society presentations, and “open mike” nights at the local bookstore.And as businesspeople, we explore the role of story-telling as a knowledge transfer tool, following Stephen Denning’s lead into the world of business narrative.

We also tell ourselves a lot of private stories, and these private stories aren’t always in our best interests.These stories often lead us to believe the worst of other people and to doubt our own abilities.What’s most insidious about them is that we don’t recognize that they are in fact stories, and not reality.Instead, we draw what we believe are logical conclusions concerning the behavior of others and about our own experience and skills.

Why is it that those supposedly logical conclusions are usually pessimistic and filled with conflict?Instead of leading us forward into deeper, more productive relationships, they tempt us into gossip, anger, and rash actions from which we may not recover.If you find yourself listening to these types of stories, whether from yourself or from those around you, stop and think!Is what you’re hearing fact, or fiction?

NOTE: This story was initially posted as one of the weekly information e-mails sent to the Fabulously Forty sorority. With the relaunch of the beautifully updated website, Parts II and III of the story will be sent to you - as well as posted here. Stay tuned!


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