oscillating narrativeWe all have a “life story” we tell ourselves, a way we interpret the world around us. It is part self-concept, part self-fulling prophecy. Families and organizations have “unifying narratives” as well, cultures and norms, habits and traditions.

A key to success, a key to resiliency, is to craft stories that support survival and success. Narratives tend to fall into three categories: ascending, descending and oscillating. The ascending is relentless upward and has its advantages. The descending is failure oriented and to be avoided except by those looking for outside excuses.

The oscillating narrative with an upward trend can be the most healthy: Problems have happened, setbacks have occurred, the world is far from perfect, but we have always persevered, we have always overcome, we have always found a way, we are climbing the mountain.

Realistic but positive, the oscillating narrative with an upward trend can create “sense making,” building a narrative that explains what the group is about, thus building unity. Creating a sense of core identity is vital to building organizational cohesion.

Closing quotes:

“We all re-create ourselves; it’s just that some of us use more imagination than others.”  — Madonna; 1958–

“I’ve found that we re-create ourselves. Our parents begin the creation, with the lessons they teach. They give us the basics of our beliefs and we move on from there.” — makjon86

“When you understand that what you’re telling is just a story, when you realize the story you’re telling is just words, when you can just crumble up and throw your past in the trashcan, then we’ll figure out who you’re going to be.” — Chuck Palahniuk; 1962–, “Invisible Monsters”