Josh Gryniewicz on the Story of Your Life

by | May 11, 2021 | INSPIRED EVOLUTION PODCAST | 0 comments

In this week’s episode, Amrit interviews Josh Gryniewicz, a storyteller, storytelling consultant and writer. He is founder of Odd Duck LLC., a boutique storytelling for social change communication firm, that works with nonprofits, NGOs, social impact start-ups, and issue-based documentaries to help them shape their narrative.

Josh Gryniewicz is co-host of the beautiful Story Matters podcast. This podcast is about why story actually does matter. It focuses on the use of story for social change and the power of narrative to shape culture, especially during times of crisis.

We are going through climate change and social challenges that are threatening our democracy and safety. We are also in the middle of a global pandemic. But Josh and Story Matters give hope. This podcast uses the power of imagination conveyed by narrative to overcome all the adversity and sad things that we are facing in this world.

“We need to think more broadly and that means a call for radical imagination and changing the narrative of everything that brought us to this point”

“Narrative gives us the structure to reimagine what’s possible and see solutions”

Story Matters brings the storytelling campfire experience right to you! If you would like to listen to it, please go to: https://www.storymatters.site/

Josh and Amrit dive deep into the heart of “story”. 

They share an entertaining and fascinating conversation about the depths and history of “story”, and what it means to be living your story. Josh is a storyteller above all and covers more than 45000 years of evolutionary storytelling history. Amrit is wisdom hungry and completely fascinated about storytelling ever since he can talk. They both turn this episode into a moment of bliss.

Amrit makes reference to experts in psychology, mythology, unified physics, religion, literature, philosophy, neuroscience and human cultural evolution amongst others to explore his point.

He believes that wisdom, especially in his country, was passed on to later generations through the ability of storytelling, and we have lost some of that art because of the need of writing and not being able to transmit stories verbally. He sees clearly how much story informs us as human beings and our story and narrative. We are connected to our story and our story informs our presence; the way we live is through our character and the character is in our story.

Josh believes a lot of storytelling is a learning tool but going back to the aboriginal origins, he remarks that it was used for a cooperative purpose. In regards to written word as opposed to the oral traditions, he affirms that when you start recording a series of events in a factual and detailed way all it does is reinforce the protagonist models making us follow somebody through a narrative from beginning to end.This isolates us and takes us away from the collective model where we are all together getting bits of that story and sharing that space.

When Josh is training, he talks a lot about Joseph Campbell’s “Hero Myth”, a common template of stories that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed. And also refers to his favourite and beautiful concept of “Sonder”, the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Josh embodies and strongly believes that every single one of us has an informed rich inner life, we all have our own experiences, and we are all protagonists in our own stories. Everybody is in a story with their own story and collectively trying to bring all those stories together.

Sharing story can heal you. Josh has witnessed it at first hand and states that healing is about looking at your trauma through your lense and taking ownership and action over it. And each time you heal, your story shifts including more of what is relevant in your life and reducing the trauma.

Finally, Josh talks about why we identify with some characters in movies and books.

When you identify with a character, you identify with their narrative and this activates the same parts of your brain, so what you are sensing is because you are very in tuned with your own mind.

He also shares a short hilarious story about Hemingway you can’t miss, as well as another couple of arguments to demonstrate there is something about how the viewer, listener, experiencer, audiencer, of the story interprets what they see and how they incorporate it into their own experiences.

Gryniewicz shares ways in which people can connect to their own story. He himself is focussed on sharing stories publicly and connects by journaling and picking up things of his day, looking at them in different ways and trying to understand how important they are to him. Personally he suggests you pay attention to the stories you tell yourself and why you tell them in a certain way. If you see it needs to be changed, then change it.

In this chapter you will learn how to live your story in the most empowered way you have ever imagined.

“Each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”

About Josh Gryniewicz:

Josh Gryniewicz is the founder of Odd Duck, a boutique storytelling for social change communication firm. Josh Gryniewicz prides himself on being a storyteller above all else.

As a creative, Josh has applied his craft to writing, spoken word, filmmaking, comic books, and other mediums. As a nonfiction writer, Josh has had work published in the Guardian, Huffington Post, and PopMatters.

For over a decade, he has worked in public interest and health communication, specializing in unconventional public health programs. While serving as the communication director for Cure Violence, the internationally renowned violence prevention program was featured in the award-winning film The Interrupters.

Josh helmed the rebrand of Integrate Health, a global health initiative in West Africa, on two continents, helping to increase their budget by nearly $1 million and propelling the organization forward as a thought leader.

Most recently, Josh led communication efforts for Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH), a Program Office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focused on national multi-sector data sharing to address social determinants of health.

In 2018, Josh founded Odd Duck to combine his passions of storytelling and social change.

Mentioned resources:

  • Video about “Yoga laughing”:https://www.theshiftwellnessrally.com/lalive – Mentioned in timestamp (00:02:00) Odd Duck recently was a “Content Consultant” on The Shift. At 1:03:24 seconds into this video of the LA Wellness Rally Ifacho Okeke demonstrates how it is done.
  • Story Matters Podcast – Hosts Josh Gryniewicz & Aseem Giri: https://www.storymatters.site/

Tune In: 

Welcome Josh Gryniewicz to the Inspired Evolution!:(00:00:00)

The story of Story Matters:(00:04:47)

Moment in which Josh owned the identity of a storyteller:(00:08:22)

Vulnerability and strength needed to share our story:(19:17)

What it really means to be living your story:(00:27:33)

Josh’s favourite word “sonder”:(00:42:54)

How the ability of sharing our story can heal us:(00:48:05)

Josh’s favourite story:(00:49:48)

Getting out of the way to find stories that support Josh on his journey:(00:51:37)

About drawing values from communicating tools:(00:56:04)

How do you help people connect to their own story?:(01:04:17)

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