In control

I’ve been reading the “Story-Based Strategy“, it’s about how storytelling can be used for advocacy and has some really helpful techniques which challenge you to think of the stories and myths you’ve internalised.

It describes a “control mythology” as “the web of stories, symbols and ideas which define the dominant culture’s sense of normal (including limiting our imagination of social change) and make people think the system is unchangeable.”

Is there a control mythology you once believed, but now question, challenge, or refute?

When I was a kid, I used to believe that people acted based on rational choice rather than on being swayed emotionally.

When did you start to challenge the conventional story? Was there a person, incident, media piece, or experience that led you to question your existing beliefs?

When I was in primary school, I saw people voting for parties that didn’t represent their social or economic interests, using scapegoats to disguise the fact they weren’t acting in their interests. I saw people who shop in supermarkets that drive local producers (who could have been their neighbours) out of businesses, who within the same breadth talked about how “it’s not like it used to be” when they knew their baker or butcher.

I realised later on that I don’t always behave based on rational choice either, but sometimes based on what makes me feel angry or inspired.

What lessons do you draw from this experience?

To better understand what motivates people to think and behave the way they do, the techniques people use to influence others and to understand the competition there is around defining what is “common sense”, whether it’s from politicians, brands or even gangs.

Is there a control mythology you believed in once, but now challenge?



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Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese