I love stories, especially when data tells a story. My initial understanding about the story data tells is rarely complete or 100% accurate. I find it rewarding to use the first story I think data told as a foundation to ask questions and work towards the larger story.
Yesterday I sat with a friend in a gym pouring over a fact sheet on his statistics. Weight, mineral composition, water percentages, and indexes were included. As I looked at the data and listened to his comments, his resigned frustration was clear. He had fallen short on a target number. Nothing else mattered.
I read the same fact sheet with different results. His water weight was up which in turn impacted in his overall weight. Statistically he had one high number. In contrast, every ration was within the norm, many on the low side. As I started sharing the story that I was reading, it was fun to watch his expression.
As we talked and compared stories, a greater story emerged, beyond what either of us had initially seen. There were areas of opportunities, points of celebration, and many reasons to celebrate. The story supported by facts came to light as we opened ourselves to the possibility. I found myself paraphrasing David, “All together now – applause for God!” (Psalm 66.1) Discipline and healthy eating are paying dividends!
Having looked at my stats earlier in the week, I know the struggle at getting beyond the initial disappointment. I am not sure I ever saw the bigger story from that weigh in. I also know I am going to take a different approach to the next story I hear. There are three reminders I want to hold as listen for the first time.
Stories are not always what they seem to be. Listening and hearing with an open mind helps one hear what is being said.
Stories always come with questions. If one fails to ask, one will miss the larger story.
Many stories carry threads of hope. It maybe said or lingering in the background.
Stories have layers.