inside story

The Commitment Story
By Bonnie Swift on 4/11/2014

(Part 3 of 3)

I have been lucky to have mentors throughout my life. As a young adult, there was one family friend in particular who took me under his wing. His name was Scott Gorman, and he died a few years ago. In his obituary, he is described as a humanitarian, arts organizer, writer, activist, and the first person without a college degree to win a Fulbright scholarship. Scott was what some psychologists would call a 'highly generative' person -- that is, he made a positive, lasting impact in his community, particularly among its younger members. And his life offers a lesson in how we can use storytelling to be generative people too.

Change Your Story, Change Yourself
By Bonnie Swift on 3/31/2014

The Personal Myth

(Part 2 of 3)

Let’s consider an unfortunate hypothetical situation in which a person reaches his or her mid-30s or -40s, and things aren’t going so well. This person’s self esteem is low, he is having a hard time finding work, or a romantic partner, or whatever… there are so many ways that things can be less than perfect in midlife. What should this person do if he’d like to make some serious changes in the way he experiences the world?

One suggestion, which is pertinent to this blog’s discussion of narrative and craft, is succinctly summed up by Maria Popova, who, in a review of psychologist Timothy Wilson’s newest book, Redirect, suggests that we approach life changes as narrative challenges. “Our experience of the world is shaped by our interpretations of it, the stories we tell ourselves,” she writes, “and these stories can often become so distorted and destructive that they completely hinder our ability to live balanced, purposeful, happy lives, so the key to personal transformation is story transformation.”