The Power of Stories

Hi, Everyone!

Among the most powerful skills a human development professional can develop is the ability to select and share stories that empower and motivate their clients and their audiences — and our industry has a rich history, filled with countless stories that are as meaningful today as when they were first told generations ago.

Here’s a great story that can set the stage for any talk about personal accountability, self-discipline or individual growth.  It was first printed in Napoleon Hill’s classic book, “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude” published in 1960.  As with any story coming from a time period so long ago, you always need to update elements of the story for political correctness and to mesh better with contemporary audiences, as I have done here:

“Getting the World Right”

A preacher had been having a very difficult time all week coming up with a powerful message for his sermon the following Sunday — and his time was quickly running out …

The preacher found himself on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon.  His wife had gone out for a few hours to do some shopping, leaving him to entertain his young daughter.  With the bad weather preventing her from going outside to play, the little girl had grown bored and was driving her father crazy with her constant interruptions and general mischief.

In a desperate attempt to occupy his daughter’s attention so he could focus his thoughts on his sermon, the preacher grabbed a magazine, flipped through, found a colorful picture of the world, ripped it out, tore it into dozens of pieces, threw them on the floor and said, “If you can put the world back together, I’ll give you a dollar.”

Thinking he had just bought himself a couple of hours of peace and quiet, he was surprised when not ten minutes later, his daughter re-appeared with the re-assembled page in her hand and a smile on her face.

“Hi, Daddy!  Here’s your picture.  Can I please have my dollar?”

The preacher looked at his little girl and said, “Honey, how did you do this so fast?”  She replied, “Well there was a picture of a man on the other side, so I just put the man back together and turned it over.  I figured if I got the man right, the world would be right too.”

The preacher smiled, pulled out his wallet, handed his daughter a $1 bill and said, “Thank you honey!  You’ve just given me my sermon for tomorrow!”

Isn’t that a great little story to capture the heads and hearts of an audience and a great theme for any presentation about leadership, responsibility and focused effort? It’s also a perfect reminder for all of us in the human development industry:  to make our WORLD a better place, we need to stop worrying about our circumstances and get back to work on OURSELVES.

Now, go share the story!



3 Responses to The Power of Stories

  1. Paul Curci says:

    Great little story. Thanks.

  2. There are no problems in the world – only opportunties.
    The problem is never outside of me – I just have not figured out … yet how to deal with it or them.
    It’s laughable (OK, I think that it is funny) when I try to change others when I am challenged to change myself … at times.

    Thanks, T, for another great post!

  3. Tammy Bush says:

    Beautiful! Thanks T. This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

    As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves. — Mohandas Gandi

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