“It’s as if there’s a box and I’m afraid to open it because I don’t know what’s in there. And if I look inside there’s all sorts of things, just jumbled up, they’re all wrapped up and I don’t know what any of them are.”
“How would you like that box to be?”
“I’d like it to be…..….like a filing box, like one of those card indexes – everything neat and tidy so I can see exactly what needs to be done and when. Phew, that would be such a relief!”
“And what do you need to do to get that filing box organized?”
“Hmmm – I just need to sit down with the box, unwrap all the ‘gifts’ and go through them all…in fact it won’t take me long ….…I just need to decide to sit down and do it…….yes I could do that, I could do it today in fact, I’ve got an hour later on!”
This is the power of metaphor to solve problems – and far more interesting and engaging than ‘how do I organise my in-tray??’
Barriers – what are they like? Like a huge brick wall that you can PUNCH a big hole in? like hurdles that you can leap over? Or a pane of glass where you can see everything you want almost in your grasp just the other side. And then when you step back you realise that in fact it’s not very big and you can just walk round the side of it!
By turning something nebulous and elusive into something tangible it makes it so much easier to deal with, and metaphor is part of what makes us human – don’t just take it from me, watch this video clip of Professor Susan Greenfield: Metaphorical thinking and identity. Or you can read more in Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors we Live By.
So if you don’t already use metaphors and imagery – why not give it a go? I’m just scratching the surface here (here I go again!);
How many metaphors can you spot in this blog post, besides the obvious ones? They can be both fun and profound! Tell us about how metaphors have worked for you by leaving your comments.
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Photo: © James Steidl – Fotolia.com
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