Create out loud
with Jennifer Louden
In this episode:
- Lisa Cron, story coach, TEDx speaker, and author of Wired For Story, Story Genius, and the much anticipated Story or Die: How to Use Brain Science to Engage, Persuade, and Change Minds in Business and in Life, talks about her road to decoding the power of story and how we can all use what she’s discovered to change the world and fuel our creative pursuits.
- How signature themes define our source material
- How to find the courage to tell our truth in our art and activism
- Why facts don’t change minds
- The science behind effective storytelling
Lisa Cron is tired of staying quiet. As a bestselling author and widely celebrated story coach, Lisa has worked as a story consultant for decades with best-selling authors, major Hollywood studios, and taught at the New School and UCLA. And now, she’s raising her story voice to help us all.
Lisa has researched the neurobiology behind our love of story for decades. She knows that understanding the mechanics of storytelling will help us become the best creatives we can be, but will also help us change the world, by elevating our critical thinking and learning to decode the false stories that the dominant culture and the patriarchy snare us in.
I kicked off the conversation by asking Lisa what the story means to her.
It’s how we learn things and how we figure out what facts and ideas and concepts mean to us. It’s what our brain does automatically when we encounter any fact — it takes the fact and it spins it into narrative…We think in story…We approach every story asking one thing: ‘what am I going to learn here? That’s going to help me make it through the night?’
Story is how we’ve understood the world and made sense of how to survive for over 100,000 years. Which is a very long time.
Lisa recognized the power of story early on, when she realized how much the television shows she watched influenced her way of thinking about the world. Listen to what show influenced her the most.
As she ventured into her first adult job in publishing, she started paying closer attention to the stories all around her — mainly, the advertisements she saw everywhere she turned — and questioned them, their meanings, and the intentions of the people behind them.
After she began a career in publishing, diving into manuscripts, she discovered everything she had learned about writing in story was wrong.
Here’s what she noticed: “What we’ve been taught about how we as humans process the world is wrong and is deeply misogynist. My goal is to flip. I really want to challenge the patriarchy through story.”
We are told emotion is our nemesis and that emotion makes us illogical. “But what biology has shown us and what brain science has proven is that if you couldn’t feel emotion, you couldn’t make a single rational decision.” Wow.
Finding this research on brain science opened up a whole new world for Lisa, one that sees through the blinders patriarchy attempts to fasten onto everything. It made the story not only personal for her, but political. Flipping the patriarchy now drives her work. And this is now part of her story.
One of the things I love about following someone’s career trajectory, is how there’s often a signature theme that emerges. It feels like the signature theme that has been emerging for Lisa is tied to her natural curiosity and obsession about story, her great political awareness, and activism, all coming together.
The more she talked about the myths unraveling, the more I related to what she was saying. I’m regularly astonished, two or three times a week, these days that entire ways of thinking get built up in our world that are completely false — entire ways of being, entire ways of structuring our lives, our governments, our business.
A lot of it comes down to fear of emotion. And much of it comes down to our sense of belonging. Our stories help us to belong. Belonging helps us to survive. An affront on our story can feel like an affront on our belonging and therefore an attack on our survival. So that’s one reason why we cling to our stories so tightly. (You may want to listen to what she says here a few times; it’s that good!)
Next, we dove into Lisa’s creative life and how she earns a living while staying true to her values.
In the end, we agreed that to create out loud is to take the time to really articulate what you want to say. Then you’ve got to allow yourself to take a stand and be seen taking a stand, instead of trying to be everything to everybody. It’s hard, but it’ll save you so much time and make your work so much more vibrant, real, and authentic.
Join me as we learn how Lisa Cron creates out loud.
Visit jenniferlouden.com/podcastkit to get instant access to a collection of audios that will
- help you with some of the most common struggles we creatives have to manage including fear of choosing,
- falling into compare and despair, managing the inner critic (s),
- and feeling too exposed and vulnerable when you put yourself or your work into the world.
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