Is it all about the Story?


When you find the same principle being applied to multiple domains, with completely different contexts, that is when you gotta watch out for such a principle. Ask yourself: how universal is this? Should I expect it to appear again in a domain near these ones? How easily does it spread to other ideas?

I suffered from this internal questioning after reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller, a suggestion from my friend Eduardo Bellani. Between 2 years, I saw the main concepts from the book shifting from one application to another and now I can only ask myself “Isn’t everything about this?”.

First Time

During my 2021 final sprint through university, in the making of the final graduation project, Edil Medeiros, my advisor back then and now, told me before I started writing my project’s report: writing, especially scientific material, is about telling a story. At that time, I was confused. What does that mean? Isn’t scientific writing just a normal report that nobody is excited to read? Isn’t it just a mandatory bureaucratic document that describes and explains a scientific artifact? By defining it as a story that the authors tell to the scientific community you are doing a twofold outcome: you are brutally dismantling my current understanding and you are opening a path that allows a paper to be fun, engaging, and intriguing. Edil and I discussed this topic quite a bit during my writing process, and I was just listening to him most of the time, trying to cover up my shocked reaction with such revealing underrated truth.

Admitting defeat, I decided to give it a try. I made my final project’s report as a story in which I would be narrating to you characters, plots, twists, and how I would attempt to add a new chapter to this epic adventure. You can check the attempt right here. Most definitely was not an excellent first job, but I consider it as a win because I understood that a story-telling-based style of writing is the key to showing beauty and increasing engagement even in the most boring of topics.

Again, but different?

A month or so ago, Bellani came to me and said: “Hey man, I think you could improve your marketing as a software developer. Have you read Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand?”. After acknowledging that I haven’t, I bought the book and read it as my September book of 2023.

And do you know what is the main plot of the book? That marketing, especially the greatest ones, is about telling a story. Once again, the same statement was being brought to me, although in a different application domain. We went from writing papers to doing a marketing campaign and the common factor between the two is that both reach their own pinnacle when using a story-telling-based approach.

Miller’s main argument is based on how humans engage with any piece of content. Because our own lives are structured in a specific way, other things that portray a similar frame will catch our attention. Miller identified that such structure is the concept of the hero’s journey. From his point of view, your marketing is as good as you are able to tell a story that the customers are interested in listening to. And, as in fiction, you lose engagement if you add noise that nobody cares about in your story.

The Main Plot

To humans, our ambitions to reach a golden and paramount mission usually follow a common structure in which the hero (us) suffers from ups and downs throughout our history. Later on, we encounter other heroes, some of whom we see as mentors or guides, who help us with problems that we can’t surpass on our own and are threatening our physical/economical/mental health. Finally, we get repaired from the trauma through a combination of individual effort with tips and tricks from mentorship in order to utterly surpass the challenge that we are facing.

Aren’t the ones that cheer for us in our story and help with comfort and support the ones that we call friends? Aren’t the ones that share guidelines and principles to counter-act problems the ones that we call parents? Aren’t the ones that are willing to join the battlefield with us and make their mission include our own the ones that we want to marry? Isn’t a mission what really triggers the most of us, unlocking unhuman powers in retrospect?


It rather seems that possessing a story and understanding how those work in detail is more than just a formula — it is a truthful piece of human nature. Once identified yours, it is just a matter of filling the gaps on how to make the most out of it. After you identify the main milestones, it gets a lot easier to just connect the dots in between with better guides and approaches to fully maximize your potential.

The problem that I see is that most people don’t really know what is their mission on Earth. Without a main goal to fulfill, you have a hard time recursively putting together the other remaining pieces. You can only unleash the energy and mindset of the hero when you know where the heck you are going, who you are trying to save, or which evil you are trying to cease. The requirement being the ability to answer such questions is what makes most of humanity never get the cape out of our closets.