Good stories need vulnerability
2 min read

Good stories need vulnerability

Good stories need vulnerability

I always found Superman to be a rather dull superhero. He's more or less indestructible, aside from a small bunch of green rocks few people can get hold of.

Most villains don't stand a chance against him: he can fly anywhere in an instant, he can shoot lasers out of his eyes, he can lift anything. He can even time travel by flying around the sun. Boring.

The flawed heroes are much more interesting.

Batman, of course, is mentally disturbed and not even super - he's just really rich.

But the likes of Spiderman and Wolverine are compelling because combined with their superpowers they also have one key human component: vulnerability.

Spiderman lost his uncle and surrogate father to a robbery, and Wolverine was left rough and hard edged by being forced to fight and kill in his younger years. Both are good people left scared by life and make mistakes along the way trying to make sense of what happened.

This came to mind while I was reading this beautiful piece by David Whyte:

This speaks to vulnerability not being a weakness but being the very foundation of what makes us who we are, the element that helps us connect and grow.

Art, says Whyte, cannot be created without connecting with vulnerability.

Vulnerability, then, is what makes a good story. Invincibility and perfection don't so much.

Too many people and organisations try to tell their stories like they are Superman, while too few tell stories like they are Spiderman (fewer still like Batman, which is probably for the best).

Telling your story as if getting from A to Z was all smooth sailing convinces no one.

Telling your story as if there were no doubts nor mistakes is not believable.

Telling your story without friction doesn't reflect real life.

When it comes to creating anything that needs to move people, vulnerability is the key ingredient.

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