Ah…remember the ‘60s? The times of rock and roll, glamorous Old Hollywood movies and a lot of classic songs which survived the radio and CD eras. In fact you are now still playing those songs on your iPhone, Youtube or that playlist on your laptop. Let’s not forget the lovely, colorful retro fashion and let’s also take a moment to remember that the world back then was black and white. And I am not just talking about the televisions right now.
Yesterday I watched an interesting movie: The Help (2011). The setting of this movie is in the 1960s. Back to 1963. We’re in Mississippi, America, in the middle of the Civil Rights Era. We’re following a young, independent (aspired) journalist who is ahead of her time. She decides to write a book with the stories of black maids, that expose the racism they face in everyday life. After the book is written, there is of course no significant change. Still, those untold stories are finally out there and intrigue the society.
The movie received four Oscar nominations, won one Oscar and was a Box Office hit. Apparently a lot of people were intrigued by the story. I also liked the story. Not only for the realistic situations, beautiful retro settings and a pinch of humor, but even more for the read-between-the-lines message about stories. Not following me anymore? Wait for it. We all like good stories don’t we? Guess what, we also have good stories to tell. Positive or negative. With an open ending or not. It doesn’t matter. That’s exactly what this movie pointed out. If the maids did not tell their stories, who would know? And although there was no significant improvement in their situation, there was a story being told that had never been told before.
The movies is of course fiction, although it has a lot of could-have-really-happened situations. However, the message of the movie is loud and clear. Tell your stories. It’s actually quite simple to tell your story. You either open your mouth or start typing on your laptop or smartphone. Or do it the old fashioned way with a pen and a piece of paper. You don’t have to write a book. Although these days writing a book is easier than ever. Finding a publisher is a little bit more difficult. (However, if you do: please let me know what titles to look for in the bookstore the coming months).
We watch movies with the expectation of enjoying a good story. Sometimes we end op wasting our time watching a movie with a bad story. Nonetheless, we all have a list of movies that we classify as a great movie. One of the main reasons is usually the interesting story itself, but also because the story leads to food for your own thoughts. We turn the television on to watch talkshows and tv programmes where people tell their real life stories and we create our own visual stories on facebook and instagram. We listen to each other during lunch or dinner to exchange stories. We are reading books to escape into a story that usually includes twohundred pages or more… You are reading this blog right now for my stories. Sharing is caring is the motto in social media land. But more importantly: if someone shares a story you learn, upgrade, agree or disagree, discuss or…you change (your mind or your behaviour). Don’t forget those lessons learned sessions that are trending in your work environment. There is a good reason for that.
Everyone has a story worth telling. Everyone has a story worth sharing. Let people know about your expertise, insights, wisdom, experience, award worthy jokes, touching columns, greatest meme on the internet (anything is possible these days). More importantly, if you hear or read a (good) story it makes you think. It makes your mind wander. Sometimes telling a story is the only thing that is needed to set a change in motion.
So go tell your stories. Because if you don’t, how will we know? Or even more important: how will we learn?