October 24th, 2013
People love their own stories of overcoming adversity. I have one myself I’ve always clung to.
THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE. This is a great segment of This American Life which everyone can relate to. It’s about your own personal story you tell people that makes them think it’s a miracle you ever achieved anything in life.
THIS IS MY STORY AND I’M STICKING TO IT (EVEN IF PROVEN WRONG)
Yesterday, Erika Mudrak at Cornell tweeted me a GREAT story in relation to yesterday’s Gladwell-Campbell essay here. Malcolm Gladwell had said he was amazed at the tales of overcoming adversity he heard from so many superstar achievers. My point was that “the Hero’s Journey” as identified by Joseph Campbell says that’s exactly what you’d expect. People like their heroes to have flaws — adversity is a variation on the flaw.
So Erika called my attention to an episode last month on “This American Life” with Ira Glass which is WONDERFUL! I don’t want to spoil it for you — you really should find the 40 minutes to listen to it. But its the same basic phenomenon — people develop their own hero stories that they are very personally bonded to.
I have mine: I got so many D’s and F’s in high school that in the fall of my senior year they sent a letter to my parents saying I wouldn’t be able to graduate the next spring. My amazing mother went down there and conned them into letting me graduate. I saved the letter and used to have it hanging next to my letter of acceptance to Harvard 4 years later to do a Ph.D.
Always a great story, and if anyone ever came along and tried to disprove it — even if they had the sworn testimony that no such high school letter was ever sent — I probably wouldn’t change the story. Which is the same as the This American Life segment. Pretty funny.
GET YER RED HOT FREE APP!
In preparation for our busy week in DC next week meeting with AAAS, EPA, NAS, UCS, ABC, WTF, LOL and a bunch of other acronimiums we’re making the app free today and tomorrow for iPhones and iPads here. So SPREAD THE WORD among your institution or organization – send out mass emails, tell everyone it’s FREE — people love free stuff!