Categorized | Happiness

The Power of Stories

Welcome to StoryGuru! Here’s what this site is all about:

Stories shape who we are and how we view the world. The stories we tell about our lives and about others can empower us – or limit us. If we can take charge of our stories, we can take charge of our lives.

Stories can shape our values

My grandmother told us stories about growing up in a rural village in China. My mother told us stories about coming to England to study and how she met my father and fell in love. Their stories taught me what life is about and what being a woman means.

I grew up in the late 60s when the air was thick with stories about women’s lib and flower power and groovy peace and love, counterpoised against stories about war and the struggle of super powers. The image of the Earth taken from the moon told us a story about its lonely fragility and inspired us to take more care of the natural world. These stories shaped the values I hold today about equality, the environment and society.

Stories to Live By

Stories can be a tool to empower and transform not just our personal lives but also communities, cultures and the world of business. Here on StoryGuru, my aim is to explore what stories mean to us all as individuals and as a society – and so bring together a diverse compendium of Stories to Live By.

I want to explore how our personal narratives can either give us a sense of agency and courage or undermine us and keep us in our shells. What happens when we reframe a story of helplessness into one of choice and possibility?

At a cultural and societal level, what stories are embedded in our traditions that we may take for granted? Are they damaging or healing stories? What stories help to create change? Who are the heroes and villains within these stories?

In the world of business, what stories do we hold about money? What fables do we have about success? Is business about gaining the power of the kingdom or about service to those in need?

Stories beyond borders

I will be looking at stories around us now in today’s cultural moment and also at history and the lives of historical figures. There is also much that literature, drama and movies can contribute to the discussion, especially the great classics that have moved and inspired us for generations as well as those that tap into a particular era’s zeitgeist.

Form and structure in novels and films help us discover the treasures within their narratives – by guiding our focus, dropping clues, using well-chosen language to underscore or music and lighting to evoke certain emotions. I am curious how we can translate such techniques into our real lives to discover the treasures there and to appreciate more fully the multi-layered texture in our every day moments.

I’ll be using stories from my own life and I am also keen to invite others to share their personal stories as well – if you have a story from your own life you’d like to share that would contribute to the exploration, please contact me.

In particular, I am fascinated by the arc of the Hero’s Journey, made famous by the late, great anthropologist Joseph Campbell and developed further by Christopher Vogler & others. He identified common stages that the hero in folk tales, myths and universal stories passes through. The hero discovers her own authentic self through this journey and in so doing transforms both herself and her community. I want to explore how we can view our own lives as a Hero’s Journey so that we can rise to the challenges that we face day to day and discover our own unique purpose through a rich and full engagement in our lives and communities.


To find out more, please go to:

About StoryGuru

About the Author, Yang-May Ooi


Photo: Mother reading to child to illustrate the power of stories to inspire and transform – thanks to seandreilinger from (CCL)

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About Yang-May Ooi, StoryGuru

Yang-May Ooi is a creative artist whose work explores the transformational power of personal narrative. She has been an award-winning TEDx speaker, bestselling author and acclaimed story performer. She is currently developing her solo show Bound Feet Blues - A Life Told in Shoes for a 3 week run in London's West End in Nov/ Dec 2015.

2 Responses to “The Power of Stories”

  1. Yang-May, I very much enjoy your StoryGuru blog. Am I following it? Will it appear on my wordpress blog every time you write a new blog? If not, how do I make that happen?

    Looking forward to so much more,


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About Yang-May Ooi

Yang-May Ooi is a creative artist whose work explores the transformational power of personal narrative. She has been an award-winning TEDx speaker, bestselling author and acclaimed story performer. Her sell out solo story performance, Bound Feet Blues, was showcased in London's West End in Oct 2014. to 4+ Star reviews. The show returns to the Tristan Bates Theatre for a 3 week run in Nov 2015 - see

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