In 2020, when a deadly pandemic hit the world, my mother found herself exploring a new hobby, that would shield her from all the anxiety. She started making beaded objects. And with time, she became quite skilled at it.
“How did you become so good at this?” I asked her.
Apparently, there was no secret sauce. The answer that I got was – “Whenever I got time, I just sat down and started working with the beads”.
Almost too easy, right?
Have we explored the possibility that maybe not everything has to be hard?
Maybe, not every habit has to be about a big shift that we made in our lives?
I want to talk about 3 easy to implement, tiny habits that have made me a better storyteller.
One story per day
The exercise is simple – At the end of the day, in an excel sheet, document a tiny story. I learned this from Matthew Dicks. He calls it “Homework for life”.
But isn’t that too much work?
After all, Matthew Dicks is asking us to create one story per day, for the rest of our lives. How much time will this demand?
The thing is, you are not supposed to document the entire story. It can just be an incident that stayed with you. A small insight that you had. A joke that you liked. Or a moment that made you angry.
In my experience, this activity doesn’t take more than 2 minutes.
Later, you can develop these ideas into stories that you can use in your talks, emails, sales pages, articles, and so on.
Let your stories interact with people
As much as I prefer, a story that exists only on Google docs, has zero potential to make me a better storyteller. The only way to get better at this craft is by exposing my stories to people.
I publish every day and I have had this habit for a while now. I started with Facebook and lately, I have moved to Linkedin. People can see my content, react to it and give me feedback. What worked? What didn’t work? All kind of feedback is valuable, and it has the potential to improve my storytelling skills.
Binge-watching Netflix and Amazon Prime
Your parents and your spouse might hate me for saying this, but let’s get a bit controversial, shall we?
Usually, binge-watching is considered a bad habit, but what if there is some merit in it?
OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and Netflix expose us to thousands of stories, and some of them are brilliant. We can watch these movies, dissect the plot, learn from them and apply the learnings in our own stories.
The other day, I was re-watching the movie ‘Kung Fu Panda’. And I found myself exploring many questions.
– Why is the scroll blank?
– What message is the movie trying to convey?
– Why is it that Po’s dad keeps talking about his secret soup recipe and towards the end reveals that there was no secret recipe in the first place?
– What is the character arc of Po?
The best part about this exercise is that you can do this while you are enjoying some good movies.
Yes, storytelling is a skill that takes some serious effort to master. But with these 3 easy habits, my skills have improved. And hopefully, my mother will acknowledge that I am as good at stories, as she is at making beaded objects.