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Lost and unlost


As a young child, I’m told, I used to get lost quite often. I don’t think I ever did it deliberately, but we’d be in a crowd in the street somewhere, or in some crowded shop, and I’d get distracted by something and lose track of which way my parents had gone. I do remember that on one occasion, when I was perhaps five years old, that I followed after someone who was wearing the same coat as my mother, only to find out when I finally caught up that it wasn’t actually her.

My parents were upset as soon as they realised I was missing again, of course, but I was never much fazed by being lost as such. Getting lost is an odd mixture of scary, frustrating and exhilarating, and it was usually the latter emotion that won out. Besides, back then, there was always a friendly-seeming police-officer nearby, and that’s where my parents usually found me, sitting in the local police-station, chatting happily to a policewoman and slurping on some questionable fizzy drink. Genuinely lost, I’d been; but it never took much more than a few minutes to get unlost again. Worrying, and unworrying, merged almost together.

I still get lost, of course. I’m still too easily distracted by anything that drifts past in my travels, whether in the physical world or just the world of ideas. There are no metaphoric parents now to be lost from, or metaphoric police-officer to take me to some known place of safety, but I can find my own way back well enough. And yes, at times it can be genuinely scary for a while… but it’s still usually the exhilaration that wins out, so much so that I’ll sometimes intentionally set out to get lost in some sense, so I can learn from new experiences and new ideas in the process of getting unlost again.

What are your own stories of this, in your family, your community, your business? In what ways did you or someone else become lost? In what sense of ‘being lost’ – place, ideas, behaviours, relations with others? How did that happen? And what happened next?

Did the story have a happy ending, as in my own examples there? Or was there a more tragic turn to the tale? Either way, what was learned? What was lost? What was found?

Apply the usual story-themes to guide you in this:

  • who were the people, the players in the story?
  • where were the places – and were they real places, or metaphoric ones?
  • what were the triggers that start the respective stories rolling?
  • what were the events, the key moments that lead the story in direction rather than another?
  • what were the outcomes – and for whom?

Capture each story in your Zahmoo story-bank – and share the stories with others, so that they too can get unlost again when their time comes.


Image credit: Lost in the crowd by Travis Swicegood under a Creative Commons BY-SA-2.0 licence.

September 23rd, 2012 by Zahmoo
Filed in: For Business, For Community, For Family
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Zahmoo is a story bank for collecting and sharing your family and business stories.


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