Storytelling - how the world's most creative minds prepare their brain

Over the ages, the art of storytelling has evolved into the most potent form of communication, learning, inspiration and empowerment. Having the versatility to tap into the reservoir of disruptive ideas, stories are like messengers, foretelling change.

There is a certain magic involved in creative storytelling. Across the millennia, there is a lineage of amazing writers that have been the keepers of our intellectual heritage in science, philosophy arts and entrepreneurship. Storytellers have followed upon the steps of natural evolution and gradually moved on to reveal the superlative powers inherent in meaningful storytelling. Stories that are not empty narratives, but serve a higher purpose of their creators to be of service to the world that surrounds them.

Deep in the heart of every conscious storyteller there is a 'mission' - to inspire and empower, question and challenge. The transformative energy communicated through strong narratives may change storytellers' role and identity into becoming great idealists, progressive visionaries, explorers of futuristic projections or persistent campaigners giving voice to the silenced, weak and suppressed. In retrospect, we may proudly exclaim that we are a race of passionate and imaginative storytellers.

Where does the inspiration that fuels storytelling come from? Can it be that some people are born storytellers with a natural talent to receive ideas and shape them into transformative narratives that resonate deeply with us?

Inspiration is the most unexpected of visitors. Conditioning the mind to a receptive and fertile state for new ideas and concepts to flood in, is the first step in the creative process of writing. Inherent qualities such as openness, sensitivity, imagination, acute perception and a keen interest to be a curious observer are key. More than anything, writing is a process of freedom, thought and expression, and as such, it transcends space and time, in a plane where rules and stereotypes do not apply.

Quiz: Who said this about stoytelling?

William James, the father of American psychology, said that the power to move the world lies in the workings of the sub-conscious mind. This may be an intriguing point to contemplate: Are writers more in touch with the mysterious powers of the sub-conscious mind and the epiphanies released through it?

There is a secret location seeked by storytellers and creative minds - a 'place' where they retreat in order to perceive ideas that have not yet been voiced and discover innovative concepts that are still at the beginning of their maiden journey to the world of reality. In essence, we are witnessing the existence of a personal ecosystem - what we may refer to as an 'ideas-hub' - that nurtures writers’ imagination, allows them the clarity to filter new information, encourages their critical ability, and the ways of interpreting change around them. There are no limits to the resources and beauty of the human mind once fully accessed.

Albert Einstein called upon inspiration by making a habit of playing his violin until the two hemispheres of his brain were harmoniously united - as he would put it - a concept that can be interpreted as a mental state where logic and intellect are fused with the unlimited storehouse of imagination. Thomas Edison was famous for keeping a bed in his laboratory where he would regularly take power naps, throughout his work day, in anticipation for clarity and inspiration to finalise his well-known inventions. Ian Fleming retreated in the Goldeneye, his own slice of personal paradise in Jamaica, to brainstorm and write up his famous sequel of novels that make James Bond a hero still envied nowadays for his glam and adventures.

In the competitive world of businesses, storytelling and image-making are 'arts' closely intertwined. A clearly structured narrative acts as a powerful manifesto, defining a company’s identity, vision, mission and purpose. In essence, we might as well say that a well curated brand resembles an artfully crafted story.

Business empires are built and myths are born through creative storytelling. The most iconic campaigns in the history of entrepreneurship are the brainchild of visionary storytellers and one of a kind leaders. Stories as tools of corporate strategy to win over market audiences have an enhanced role above and beyond traditional image-making. They serve as strong connection points, opening up channels of communication, learning and interaction.

Great storytellers are good listeners. They sense and feel the world around them. They are keen to play with a multitude of practices to create signature concepts, expressing a vision of what a brand stands for and what ideals it aims to project. Importantly, they know the allure and power of a compelling story to inspire, shape and transform. This direct relationship and binding chemistry between storytellers and audiences is contingent upon timing, synchronicity, the fluctuations of human psychology and the public sentiment that defines each era. As humans, we are naturally deciphering the world around us through our senses, and the stories that resonate better with us are the ones where emotional intelligence shows through.

No story ever comes alive until there is a reader to love it. Either in fiction or the practical world of entrepreneurship, there is but one magic quality that makes a story transformative - It is the unbeatable power to dream. With just a little imagination, a good story can take us anywhere.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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