Podcast – Episode 0209 – Power Of Narratives

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the power of narratives to create a reality that brings you happiness in life.


In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Meta-narrative: one overarching story that explains reality. We are all bought into the same narrative.
  • All of us have a narrative.
  • We tend to assume other people buy into our narrative.
  • What are our narratives and how do they influence us?
  • Try to understand the power of narrative in creating the life you want.
  • The stories you tell yourself create your reality.
  • Thinker/Thinks podcast
  • Like a fish in water. The water is the narrative, and we are the fish.
  • Middle Earth vs. Star Trek Federation
  • Ontological differences can be massive.
  • If our interpretation of the world is only a story/narrative, it can be a bit disempowering.
  • If we can’t accept that our interpretation is a story, we are going to overvalue that story.
  • It isn’t good to believe our narrative is the only narrative, and it’s not good to believe that nothing is real.
  • There is a middle ground where we can understand that everyone has a narrative and still agree to assimilate into a collective narrative.
  • Like color. We all seem to agree with what is considered red. But how do we know that other people are seeing red in the same way we do?
  • Remember that we have narratives just like everyone else.
  • How can we change our narrative from, “I’m the worst person who ever lived” to “I am a human being like everyone else with strengths and weaknesses.”
  • Once you understand these are all stories/narratives the more agile you become in your thoughts and perspectives.
  • Two factions are emerging in the political atmosphere of the US.
  • They can’t even agree on the story. They see reality completely differently.
  • Disagreement isn’t over particulars it is fundamental to the stories we are telling ourselves.
  • How do we navigate a world where people don’t even see the same reality?
  • Sometimes divergent sides are playing the same game, just opposite sides.
  • Narratives can help us identify how we are similar to others.
  • If we are reluctant to let go of our narrative, we can try to shoehorn other people’s narratives under ours to make it the definitive truth.
  • This looks like openness to other narratives, but it’s actually a diagnosis of their narrative.  
  • How many of us have been taught: “If it weren’t for God’s grace I’d be a drunk in the gutter?”
  • As if, once we untether from that baked-in narrative, there’s nothing else to tether us.
  • Once we let the narrative that forms our morality go, we have nothing to tether to and corruption is the feared result.
  • We see people’s narratives duking it out all the time. We call it war.
  • How do we use these narratives for personal empowerment?
  • It hearkens back to addiction. Many people trade one narrative for another, just like they trade one addiction for another.
  • Are you addicted to your narrative?
  • Do you act like a junky when someone tries to pull it away?
  • Can you not see outside of your narrative?
  • When someone questions it, do you start to freak out?
  • If you believe that giving up one narrative will only result in the adoption of a more harmful narrative, is it because you know you traded one addiction for another?
  • Empowerment comes from letting go of the addictions.
  • Be open to change. You can likely trace previous narratives that changed. Have you ever believed in Santa Claus?
  • If you truly believe you will become a drunk in the gutter if you leave your current narrative, then your relationship with your narrative/story is controlling you. You aren’t in control.
  • If you can’t handle life without your narrative/story, you may have an addiction to it.
  • Whenever you encounter someone else’s narrative, you will try to shoehorn it into yours.
  • As human beings, we can’t resolve major conflicts if we refuse to allow that other people’s narratives/stories are just as true as ours.
  • Hold your narratives loosely.
  • If we could all do this, we could end war.
  • We hold the power within ourselves.
  • It’s not the narrative that holds the power. It’s our attachment to it.
  • These podcasts are narratives. We try to cast a narrative to give you a more empowered perspective.
  • Let’s work together to create open frame empowering narratives.

In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the power of narratives to create a reality that brings you happiness in life. #podcast #narratives #growthhacking

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Showing 6 comments
  • Katie Mae Poore

    To me, this episode was a powerful reminder to be careful of seeing people as “other.” They’re living in the same world as me but may be focusing on other aspects. Right now there are things going on in the U.S. that make it very easy to feel that sense of otherness, separated from those who believe so differently. They have a different story they’re living, but may have the same values as us at the core. If we could have a conversation on that level, both parties could have an opportunity for growth.

    That being said, where is the breakdown between a difference in narrative and a difference in morality? Where does morality fit into narrative?

  • Amanda

    This episode was so interesting and gave me a lot to think over! As a speech language pathologist I have worked with narratives in the context of working with children with limited vocabulary and communication skills to empower them to expand their narratives about themselves and their lives. There are pretty interesting research out their in the context of communication disorders that when someone can expand and express their narrative then they can really start to grown as people and as communicators. One of my mentors worked in juvenile detention centers as a speech pathologist and focused a lot on establishing narratives with kids who had communition/language difficulties and even rewriting (so to speak) the limited narratives they already had for themselves.

    I think that there is a lot of power and importance in narratives but I agree that there is more power and freedom when hold so tightly that you can look past it.

  • Tine Putzeys

    Not related to the podcast content, but thank you for introducing me to the beautiful term ‘word whisker’.

  • Caroline

    The bit at the end about how people may be addicted to their narratives got me thinking. I don’t identify as someone who would hold onto narratives (one in particular that appeared today which I will explain shortly) but I think it’s likely I tricked myself into believing my narrative to be a reality, like a Mirkwood Elf in Middle Elf (Galadriel is without want). Now, it got better to where I was obviously aware of this ideas existence but as a script, not a narrative. I threw away that script and others I’d used and became free in many ways. Yet this idea kept existing, less forcefully and without default responses and thoughts, but lingeringly present – there’s a fear stained in me. Because of this podcast I think I cracked my own code and discovered I use a narrative and allow it to background-manipulate my thoughts and often physical responses to my external environment all the while I think I am in control.


    1. Authority figures have too much room to abuse their power and may act on that
    2. Corporate peoples, particularly men, once at a certain level in the hierarchy (or in cases, those below who want to get higher – men and women) play a “game” – like the small talk and banter, email documenting EVERYTHING, covering their tracks at others expense, really anything stereotypical of the ladder climbing modern-day “person”
    3. Several of the men in current or former authority at my place of business are sexist and objectify women and will do whatever they can to oust strong, smart and capable women from the workplace

    So, these narrative components come from different places in me:
    1. My professional mentor (perhaps I should find another – mistake 1, INTJ using an ESFJ as a mentor) fed some to me
    2. My perception of the internal environment at this company/I don’t respect or trust some people for who I know them to be doubled with I have a lifelong struggle of not respecting or trusting people with power-by-title
    3. My own paranoia (trained into me by a micromanaging, deceptive, lying ex-boss)
    4. My perception as a child of my father plus the unfortunate interactions I’ve had with men as an adult in my personal life

    Maybe I am shifting onus?

    I’m not by any means addicted to this narrative; in fact I don’t want it. But what do I replace it with? Or, alternatively, how do I not have any narrative?

    • Charis Branson

      Hey Caroline! Thanks for your comment. As an INTJ, your best possible ally in this situation is your Intuitive process – Introverted Intuition. Use it to shift perspectives and get into the minds and hearts of those you may have some sort of narrative around. If it is hard to do this from a distance, try and engage these people in conversation. Seek to understand. Once you can understand, you can empathize.

      Remember we all have a system running that is creating the person we are right now. When I look at someone that I may be jumping to judge, I imagine what happened in their life to make them speak and act the way they do. Once I do that, I realize that I would act the same exact way if I had the same programming as they do.

      Here is an article on Systems Thinking and how you can start using it to create empathy:

      You also may be a Power Away From person, which Antonia and Joel discuss in this podcast: https://personalityhacker.com/podcast-episode-0115-6-styles-of-motivation/

    • Antonia Dodge

      It’s pretty much impossible to exist without any narrative at all. The desire to feed ourselves is based on the narrative that our continued existence is a good thing.

      From my perspective it’s not being without narratives, but holding our narratives loosely that gives us power. It means we can adapt to changing contexts, be open to new information and let go of stories about life that hurt us.

      It’s a simple thing to say, much more difficult to implement. My go-to recommendation is to start consuming information that directly contradicts your narratives. Find people who take the opposite opinion and listen to what they have to say. You may not fully change your opinion to match theirs – that’s not the point – but you may hear things that chip away at your certainty enough to be able to reevaluate them.


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