The Importance of Story

When I was a kid, about 7 or 8 years old, word got out that for my birthday I wanted some Hot Wheels cars.  On that day, I had a big party with lots of friends over which also meant lots of presents.  I was so excited.

When I opened my first present, it just what I wanted, Hot Wheels cars! Perfect.  Next present, more Hot Wheels.  This was working out great.  The next one, Hot Wheels again!  I couldn’t believe my luck.

Then it happened, present after present, every single gift I received that day, all matched my desire: Hot Wheels!  It was like a dream come true…  except for one thing. 

It was too much. 

Sure, I wanted some Hot Wheels cars, but I liked other stuff too.  I didn’t necessarily want every present to be Hot Wheels.  Couldn’t someone be a little creative and think of something else?

It was one of the strangest birthdays I ever had.  I was excited and happy about what I received, but not quite fulfilled because the final outcome wasn’t really what I wanted.  I learned that very basic lesson of “be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.” But to me it answered the question, “Is that all you want?”

Sometimes it takes an experience to really learn something.  And each experience is a story. 

We learn the most from stories.

Whether they are our own, or we read or hear them from someone else.  They are powerful.  And that is why they have been used for generations since the beginning of man to teach basic principles.

If stories have been so effective throughout time, then maybe we ought to use them more often today.  Well, some people do.

Some of us just need more practice.  Do you?  Will you?


Post inspired by Chris Brogan:



What of virtue?

It’s not a word that is used very often these days, and depending on your background or worldview it can have various meanings.  But based on my limited research, most definitions of the word are good, and my only point in bringing it up is to try to get the word back into circulation.  I think it might help the world for this word to be part of more conversations.

Here’s why:

The first definition from Webster’s is:  conformity to a standard of right.

This implies that there is a standard of right that one should conform to.  Yes, we all may not agree on the particular details of that standard, but I think deep down, we probably have more area that we agree on than disagree.  Even those who don’t conform to the standard will agree on a right and wrong, they just usually have a reason or justification of why they might have deviated from the standard.

The second part of that definition is: a particular moral excellence.

Morality or having morals is about a system of principles or rules of conduct, and if having virtue is on the ‘excellence’ side of our rules of conduct then that means that someone is conducting themselves better or higher than whatever standard is normal.  And we usually respect those people who are able to live at a higher standard because we all know that being ‘excellent’ is more difficult.  Making a choice between something easy and hard is difficult, so choosing to be excellent is usually the hard side.

The other two definitions of virtue that I think are interesting to be both part of the same word are:

  1. manly strength or courage
  2. chastity especially in a woman


It appears to me that most concepts in the world today associated with manly strength or courage would not be associated with chastity.  In fact, probably the opposite, which is why I think the word virtue should be used more often, so that people can connect these two concepts:  that real manly strength, courage or valor involves protecting the chastity of women.