Faculty Lecture Series: Pellissippi State professor examines the stories we tell ourselves

You might want to adjust the story you tell yourself about who you are, says Donn King, associate professor of Liberal Arts at Pellissippi State Community College. We all tell ourselves stories about our lives, he says, and it’s not something we can stop doing. But a different version of the story of your life might just make you happier.

The speech communications instructor and former pastor touches on just about everybody—individuals, parents, children, lovers—in an upcoming lecture at the college, “The Greatest Story Never Told.” The title refers to the story you tell yourself.

The free event is Oct. 11, 12:30-1:30 p.m., in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. The community is invited to attend.

“I’ve always been interested in storytelling,” said King, an award-winning Toastmasters International speaker. “Humans have always told stories to preserve and transmit knowledge, and to try to make sense of the universe. But anything we tell ourselves is not going to be the truth. It’s going to be a viewpoint.”

King will examine the power of story to influence behaviors, expectations and the decisions we make.

“Through exploring a few example stories,” he said, “I plan to help audience members recognize their own stories so they can decide whether they are useful or need changing or dropping altogether.”

He draws upon the philosophy of the ancient Greek sage Epictetus.

“Epictetus said 2,000 years ago that it’s not what happens to us, but what we think about what happens to us, that determines our experience.”

The presentation is part of the 2012-13 Faculty Lecture Series, which is designed to highlight the expertise of Pellissippi State faculty. The lecture is one component of the college’s new arts series, “The Arts at Pellissippi State.” The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

The next lecture in the series is “Born Fighting,” presented by Pat Riddle, an associate professor and the program coordinator of Engineering Technology’s Mechanical Engineering concentration. The event is Nov. 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m., at the same location.

For additional information about the King lecture or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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