RuleOther Best FrameworkMixed ApproachUse in BusinessUse in Personal LifeExplanation using Psychology
1. You admire a character.Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s JourneyDevelop a relatable character that undergoes a transformative journey.Craft compelling brand characters or personas that customers admire and can relate to.Cultivate personal traits that others find admirable, fostering positive relationships.Humans are drawn to characters that possess admirable qualities, as it triggers the activation of mirror neurons and fosters feelings of empathy and connection.
2. Keep in mind what’s interesting to the audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer.Aristotle’s Three Act StructureIdentify and cater to the audience’s interests and desires.Tailor products or services to fulfill customer needs and preferences.Consider the interests and desires of loved ones when planning activities together.People are more likely to engage with stories that align with their interests and desires, as it activates the brain’s reward system, enhancing attention and enjoyment.
3. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours.Dan Harmon’s Story CircleStreamline the narrative by eliminating unnecessary elements and maintaining a clear focus.Streamline business processes and strategies, minimizing complexity and maximizing efficiency.Simplify personal goals and priorities, reducing distractions and enhancing productivity.The human brain has limited cognitive resources, and simplifying narratives reduces cognitive load, allowing for better comprehension, memory retention, and engagement.
4. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them.Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s JourneyPlace characters in situations that force them to confront their weaknesses and grow.Assign employees or team members tasks that challenge their skills, promoting growth and development.Step out of comfort zones in personal pursuits, embracing challenges for personal growth.Humans experience psychological growth and resilience through the process of confronting and overcoming challenges, leading to increased self-efficacy and personal development.
5. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.Kurt Vonnegut’s Shape of StoriesDevelop characters with distinct opinions and beliefs that shape their actions and decisions.Encourage employees to express their opinions and contribute to decision-making, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.Embrace personal values and opinions, allowing for authentic expression and fostering meaningful relationships.Humans are naturally drawn to stories that involve characters with strong beliefs, as it activates the brain’s valuation systems, increasing emotional investment and creating relatability.
6. What’s the essence of your story? What’s the most economical way to tell it? If you know that, you can build out from there.Robert McKee’s StoryDetermine the core message or theme of your story and communicate it effectively.Develop concise and impactful brand messaging that conveys the essence of your business.Identify personal values and principles, guiding decision-making and conveying authenticity to others.The brain craves coherence and seeks patterns and meaning in information. By distilling a story’s essence, it becomes easier for individuals to process and understand, leading to enhanced memorability and emotional resonance.
7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard; get yours working upfront.David Mamet’s Practical AestheticsDetermine the desired outcome or resolution of the story before planning the details.Set clear goals and objectives for your business, focusing on the desired outcomes and working backward to develop strategies.Establish personal goals and aspirations, providing a sense of direction and purpose for personal growth.Humans find comfort in having clear goals and a sense of purpose, as it provides a framework for decision-making and a sense of control over their lives, reducing anxiety and enhancing motivation.
8. Finish your story; let go, even if it’s not perfect.Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat!Complete the story and release it, recognizing that perfection is unattainable.Avoid perfectionism in business endeavors, allowing for iterative improvements and adaptation based on feedback.Embrace imperfections and let go of unrealistic expectations in personal pursuits, promoting self-compassion and resilience.The pursuit of perfection can be paralyzing, causing unnecessary stress and hindering progress. Accepting imperfections aligns with human nature and promotes psychological well-being and growth.
9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next. Lots of times, the material to get you unstuck will show up.John Truby’s Anatomy of StoryGenerate alternative scenarios and possibilities to overcome creative blocks.Encourage brainstorming and idea generation in business problem-solving, fostering innovation and overcoming obstacles.Apply creative problem-solving techniques in personal life to overcome challenges and discover new solutions.Generating alternatives activates the brain’s divergent thinking, promoting cognitive flexibility and overcoming cognitive biases, thus facilitating creative problem-solving and unlocking new perspectives.
10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.Lisa Cron’s Wired for StoryAnalyze and deconstruct successful stories to identify elements that resonate with you personally.Study successful business strategies or case studies, extracting insights and adapting them to your own context.Reflect on personal experiences and stories that resonate with you, identifying values and lessons to guide your own actions.Humans are inherently wired for storytelling and find resonance with narratives that mirror their own experiences, beliefs, and desires. Recognizing these elements allows for deeper personal connection and can inform effective storytelling strategies.
11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.Andrew Stanton’s 5C’s of StorytellingTransform ideas into tangible form to facilitate collaboration and improvement.Encourage team members to document and share ideas in business settings, fostering communication and collective problem-solving.Write down personal goals and aspirations, making them concrete and increasing accountability and commitment.Translating thoughts into written or visual form increases the likelihood of action and sharing. It activates cognitive processes associated with planning and intention, enhancing motivation and commitment to the idea or goal.

These principles can be applied both in business and personal life to create engaging narratives, build strong relationships, and foster personal growth.

Psychology provides insights into the human cognitive and emotional processes that underlie effective storytelling, allowing us to understand why certain techniques resonate with audiences and individuals.

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