I’ve always loved stories — especially hearing the stories of other people. It’s part of my Greek heritage. That’s what Greeks do — eat, talk, tell stories, repeat. My father was a journalist and my mother hosted an endless parade of family and friends through our house, where I’d sit and listen. And that’s been a consuming passion all my life: sitting around kitchens, dining rooms, on campuses, in restaurants, on planes, on hikes, listening to stories. And that was, of course, a big part of HuffPost, where our blogger platform allowed people all over the world to add their stories to the ongoing conversation. And that same power of story and narrative is going to be a big part of Thrive Global. That’s why I’m thrilled that Thrive Global is partnering with Medium, and using Medium’s unparalleled platform to create the global hub for this essential conversation on what is a good life, how we can manage our relationship with technology, and the new science and latest tools to enhance our health, well-being, and productivity.
We are at an inflection point in history, where technology has granted us powers that accelerate the speed of life beyond our capacity to cope. Creating new boundaries with technology, and ending the escalating global epidemic of stress and burnout isn’t going to be easy. The science is clear and unambiguous — prioritizing well-being improves our performance across the board. But old habits die hard, and awareness isn’t enough. Changing the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success requires collective action. It requires the collective stories of how people are changing the way they work and live.
Change is particularly difficult when it goes against the prevailing culture. But within a supportive, engaged, and active community, behavior change has a much better chance of being both successful and sustainable. People learn best from other people — by exchanging stories, and, along with them, ideas, inspiration and motivation.
And that’s why the Medium platform is so central to what Thrive Global is doing. In addition to featuring the latest science, studies, and expert commentary and advice, we’ll also be putting flesh and blood on the data by opening up the platform for people to share their stories with each other and the world — their stories of burnout, their wake-up calls, and the microsteps that led to sustainable behavior change.
After all, when we sit down to connect with our friends and loved ones, we don’t exchange statistics, we tell stories — mostly about ourselves and other people. “Stories,” writes creative writing professor Robert McKee, “are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”
It’s been that way since the beginning. In every religious tradition, our very first examples of our urge to understand our world are creation stories — not creation facts and data, but creation stories. And as researchers are finding, our need for stories is hard-wired right into our brains.
By hearing other people’s stories, we inhabit them, try them on, see how they feel in our own lives, learn from them and add them to our own experience. So it’s no surprise that researchers have also found that stories that are personally compelling and have emotional impact on us activate a larger share of our mental processes and are more easy to remember than statistics.
That’s why, though you’ll also find the latest science, research, data, and facts on well-being and productivity on our site, you’ll find hundreds — soon to be thousands and tens of thousands — of stories about the challenges people are facing, about changes they’ve made, about what motivates them and inspires them to take back their lives and thrive in a culture of unrelenting stress and burnout.
And it’s through these stories, here on Medium, that we’ll inspire and support each other and build our global community to accelerate the culture shift in the way we work and live. Please add your voice and your story by emailing [email protected] or leaving a response below.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com