How a Story Could Save Your Life

How a Story Could Save Your Life

We have the art of storytelling in order not to die of life.”
Nietzsche

In One thousand and one nights the narrator, Scheherazade, is about to be killed by the king of Persia. That’s what he’s done to all his previous wives—a thousand to be exact. Like most villains deep down he’s a big softie who just can’t get over an old hurt: his first wife was unfaithful.  The king figures the only solution is to behead each wife after he’s slept with her. You can’t be unfaithful if you don’t have a head. Perhaps not the most elegant solution but then psychotherapy hadn’t yet been invented.

Scheherazade is next in line to the king’s bed but she has a crafty plan. She tells him a gripping story, stopping at a cliffhanger, just before dawn. To hear the ending, the King has to have her back the following evening. The next night she finishes the story, but cunningly starts a new one, which once again she stops at a gripping cliffhanger just before dawn. A thousand nights and a thousand stories later and the king made kinder and wiser by Scheherazade’s wonderful tales spares her and makes her queen.

Great stories are mesmerizing; they engage and entertain like nothing else and it appears if you’re a young virgin facing a psychopathic king, they may just save your life. My first three books and seven audiobooks were all non-fiction. In Quest, Inc. my purpose is the same as with the other books, to inspire you to realize your potential. It’s just that this time I hope I succeed where Scheherazade did, not to ensure that you don’t kill me—hopefully you’ll decide that anyway— but to keep you reading through all the cliffhangers until you soak up the life-changing insights.

The truth is it wasn’t Scheherazade that gave me the idea for Quest, Inc. It was Grey’s Anatomy. While watching it struck me: Why are there so many TV shows about doctors and lawyers and none about transformational experts? Surely changing lives could be every bit as dramatic and exciting. Better still, by watching the show you could pick up tips and tools to change your own life. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. Nothing wrong with entertainment, but why not get entertained and have your life changed at the same time? As I put the TV show concept together I realized that using a fast-paced, TV drama series style it could be a book series too. So while scriptwriter and director of “Spud” Donovan Marsh bought an option to produce the TV series, this month the first Quest, Inc.book will appear on bookstore shelves in South Africa.

I will be interviewed on Quest, Inc. on 3Talk, SABC 3, on Thursday the 23rd of June.

What’s your quest?

Justin

P.S. Did you know that South Africa is one of the world’s premier builders of rockets? I didn’t. It was an honour to host the Denel Dynamics CEO awards last month in Johannesburg.

“Justin was able to capture the essence of what our CEO Achievement awards were about, but more importantly he understood our business and was able to relate to the audience in a way that was very commendable. He almost felt like one of the employees and his sense of humour and professionalism are applauded and appreciated. We would definitely higher him again and I would definitely recommend him to anyone who needs a professional who does his research beforehand and is able to give any event the elegance, humour and prestige they need.”- Nametsegang Maruping, HR Business Partner, Denel Dynamics

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