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The Power of Story May 23, 2010

Posted by ozsomesuccess in Business Success, Law of Attraction, Romance & Relationships, Uncategorized.
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"My Love, I give you this Golden Crown"

One of my author friends once told me that humanity’s most basic needs are not three, but four: Food. Shelter, Clothing . . .  and Fiction.

I have wrestled with this off and on for years. Each time Circumstance pulls me away from Theatre, and each time I come back, it is with a desire and longing more powerful than before. 

Why? It makes no sense. Why would I do something where, according to “conventional wisdom,” the likelihood of financial success is so small? Why does it matter to me so much, to stand in front of an audience and just pour my heart out in song? 

Back in the day, being onstage was my sole hope of getting people to admire me instead of denigrate me. 

First it was school bullies I was trying to impress. Then it was a compensation for teenage social awkwardness. Then it was proof to my employers that I wasn’t incompetent, I was just in the wrong job. 

In every case, Theatre or Music (and sometimes both simultaneously) was a means to get them to see me for what I really am, not for what they think I am, or wish I was. 

But that’s not going to get an aspiring thespian very far. In some cases, it will even antagonize the very people you need most in order to really succeed. 

What really matters is . . . the Story. 

When you can keep your focus on the Story rather than upon yourself, when everything you do is in service to the Story you are telling, your chances of success are much greater. 

I found that out when I came up with the idea for a musical update of the myth of Persephone. No longer was I a wanna-be soprano, scrambling for little scraps of praise and approval. Overnight I became someone with an original Story to tell, something unique to bring to the table, something that nobody else was doing. 

The Story of how that happened, is a Story all to itself.

Story motivates people to think about their lives — and does it at a subliminal level, without preaching. Story slips past barriers that would otherwise be more adamantly reinforced by direct criticism. By looking at it as an Observer, you can say, “I can relate to that character” and learn from what the character does, then go back and implement it in your own life. 

Show, not Tell.

A Good Story can . . . 


  • Show a man how to woo a woman.
  • Show a woman how to recognize desirable character traits in a man.
  • Show you when you are being too obsessed about something.
  • Show you how to listen for the whispers of Divine Guidance when the voice of your own fear is too loud.
  • Show you where to find strength when you think all hope is gone.
  • Show you how to think outside the box for an innovative solution.
  • Show you hypocrisy, and expose it with hilarity. 
  • Show you when it’s time to relax and just enjoy good company. 
  • Show you how to die courageously. 
  • Show you when you need to ask for help, and when you need to keep your own counsel. 
  • Show you how to help someone in trouble. 
  • Show you how to spot the chinks in an enemy’s armor. 
  • Show you when you need to step in, and when you need to let someone go his own way. 

and of course,

  • Show you how to create something that people will pay you handsomely for.

All this and much more. And that’s why . . . the Show Must Go On. 

Notice the pattern here: In most cases, Stories are about People. The accumulation of riches is usually a secondary consideration, a consequence of doing something good for someone. When Money (or Power) is the primary focus of a lead character, the Story does not end well. 

So, in And God Said, “Let There Be Money” (a book that would also make a great screenplay), I update the tale of Acres of Diamonds with a story about a man who goes on wild goose chases looking for money in all the wrong places, and how his inability to control his hair-trigger temper drives his wife to seek solace in a love affair . . .  which in turn kicks her creativity into high gear. He comes to ruination while still remaining clueless as to the real reasons why, while she goes on to fame and fortune by creating works of real value.

In Mr. Right, Mr. Lame, or Mr. Hyde? and Cool Girl, or Neurotic Nellie?, a Heart-boiled Detective named “Cherchee la Femme-Noir” goes on the case to  help her clients solve the mystery of finding the Ideal Mate — how to spot clues that someone may be a false lead, or a Keeper. Your fortune will rise or fall depending upon your choice of life partner; these books will help you make the right choice. You make a different “buying decision” when you are investing long-term. 

And, in The Passion of Persephone (a rock opera), I tell a story of finding your own path in life, even when that path doesn’t match what your parents want for you; a story of being tested to see what you are really made of; a steamy story of love and sexual awakening. Persephone gains wealth (in the form of a golden crown from Hades) by facing her fear of pain, death, and parental disapproval; by finding love in the unlikeliest of places; and by finding her hidden talent. 

What story changed your life?