The three stories of self, us and now –

Eric Liu discusses the nature of power and how stories can change the status quo, on

This is true far beyond the context of civic power in which Liu writes.

“When you want to challenge the powerful, you must change the story.”

He outlines three nested stories we must tell;

  • The Story of Self – our origin stories that help the listener find common ground and build trust
  • The Story of Us – the most important of the three. Who is “us”? By redefining “us” – in the example given, from “low-paid workers” to “citizens of Seattle” – you change the narrative.
  • The Story of Now – why is this the “movement moment”? It’s the story of now that made these such powerful slogans for their times: “Yes we can.”; “Morning in America” and “Make America Great Again”.

At the end of the article, Liu also gives an interesting study of the effectiveness of “deep canvassing”.

A worthwhile read for strategists and story-tellers.


Photo by Ewa Gillen on Unsplash

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