Beguiled By Narrative
Stories are culture’s way of teaching us what is important. They are what allow us to imagine what might happen next – and beyond – so as to prepare for it. We are hardwired to respond to story. A good story doesn’t feel like a story – it feels exactly like real life, but most decidedly is not like real life. It is simplified and otherwise altered. We prefer rhetorical grace and an emotional charge to the work of hard thought. Because we are inveterate simplifiers, we prefer clean and clear narrative to messy reality. A famous book by Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism, pretty well demolished the popular notion that history was a narrative, that it had a shape, a progression, and followed laws of development. But we believe that it does (or devoutly wish to believe that it does) anyway.
Still, because it feels so true (“It can’t be wrong when it feels so right”), it isn’t hyperbole to say you’ve been lost in a story. Story turns us into willing students, eager to learn the story’s message. It’s how we sift through the raw data of our lives to ascertain what matters. Our brains are designed to analyze the environment, pick out the important parts, and use those bits to extrapolate linearly and simplistically about and into the future.
By Martin Davidson September 09, 2014
We need to expand our definition of diversity to include the weird—a group often maligned and avoided. These are people who appear to us as different, strange, and even offbeat; they just don’t fit in.
There is potency and innovativeness in certain kinds of weirdness that can help businesses thrive.
The key for leaders is to figure out how to support weird people so that they create—not destroy—value for the company. Some of these people have stifled their offbeat creativity out of social fear, camouflaging their true selves because they think it’s not appropriate at work to be as they really are. They leave essential parts of themselves at the office door.
Weirdness manifests itself in two ways. One involves people who act weird just to oppose the norm. I call that the “little w” in weird. Little w is all about “me.” It makes you feel good to be different, but you’re not contributing what you could—what is really needed. These weird people often have voracious egos.
In contrast, “big W” weird people oppose the norm, though not just for the sake of standing out. Rather, they are trying to see something or to achieve a larger goal, and they know that following a normal path won’t get them there. Often these folks are more humble than their “little w” brethren; they are just focused on getting a great result.
U.S. Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace in Three Years By Jeanna Smialek Sep 2, 2014
Gains in manufacturing boosted the U.S. expansion in August, led by a surge in orders for plastics and metals that powered the world’s largest economy past a global slowdown.
The Institute for Supply Management’s index unexpectedly climbed to 59, the highest level since March 2011, from July’s 57.1, beating all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists.