Byron's Babbles

The Power Of Fictional Lives

Posted in Educational Leadership, Fiction, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 8, 2021

I came in late last night from playing farmer, my favorite thing, and while dinner was being warmed up I noticed that The Good Doctor (Season 4 Episode 17) was on television. This was not a show I had ever watched before, some people we had over said it was a great show. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. A line in the show jumped out at me after one of the characters in the show realized that an inspiring story that had really helped her rally and succeed in high was a fictional story and not about a real person. The person who told her this said, “Fictional lives can save real lives.” This, then begged the question of whether fictional characters can change our lives. We spend a lot of time of our lives immersed in novels, movies, plays, TV series or any other form of fiction.

Many psychologists believe that fictional characters can and do influence us in real life. As I sit here and think about it, I am reminded of the leadership lesson I do involving super heroes as the through line. I also thought about the deep thought and introspection that fictional characters have enacted in myself while reading those great novels over the past year or two. The experience of gaining access to the interiority of the characters’ minds can broaden our perspective and enable our being more accepting of diversity. Because we can learn everything everything about the fictional character (something we can never do with a real person), we become so engrossed with the characters that our own personalities, thinking, and actions get affected.

Here’s the deal: the imagining that takes place when we are reading a novel or watching our favorite show creates understanding. We can learn so much through vicarious experiences that we would never have otherwise known. I believe this is why so many of my blog posts are inspired by television shows (like this one) or lines in novels. Imagination thrives off of imagination. This imagination can help us notice things we wouldn’t otherwise notice.