Enriching Your Life Metaphors

The way we walk through the world is heavily influenced by the Neuro-Linguistic models we create in our mind. What this means in plain English is that our experience (which is created by our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch) is transformed into linguistic labels and visual icons/metaphors.


We have to do this generalisation process to be able to cope with the complex nature of reality. Converting our intricate experiences into a visual metaphor enables us to remember that information for quick recollection and processing.

It’s true – a picture tells a thousand words.

We create metaphors for all kinds of things. You just have to listen carefully to any conversation and you’ll hear them pop out:

“I felt like I was on top of the world.”

“It felt like a great weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

“You are the sunshine of my life.”

You can probably think of your own favourites.

Now where it gets really interesting is with what is known as life metaphors. One of the most well known in recent times was Forrest Gump’s, “Life is like a box of Chocolates…”


A couple of others:

“My life is like a broken record, things just keep going round and round in a monotonous loop.”

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” – Danny Kaye

Now because these metaphors represent a generalisation of all aspects of ‘life,’ when you change this life metaphor, you can change your whole attitude to life!

That’s quite powerful right?

So what is your life metaphor? Maybe you have an idea already? You can find out easily enough by asking yourself the following question, “As I think about it now my life is like…”

When you describe it, notice the corresponding visual imagery; Where are the images located in space? Is it in colour or black and white? Can you see yourself in it or are you seeing it through your own eyes? Is it still or moving?

Now think about what you would really like your life to be like?

“Ideally, life to me would be like…” and notice the visual imagery.

What you can do now is enrich your current life metaphor in a way that heads towards your ideal future.

Picture your current life metaphor and notice the ideal life metaphor at the same time. Now what’s the first thing you need to do in that first image to enhance it towards the ideal. What do you need to remove, add or transform?

For example if your current life metaphor is a bit dim and dingy, what happens when you add in some bright spot lights and pan the focus back so you can see, “the big picture.”

By playing around with the imagery you can imagine yourself in a little story or journey that goes towards the ideal life. Actually imagine what steps you would need to make to go from A to B. Allow yourself to go through the journey, noticing new insights and other learnings as you change the metaphorical landscape.

This can cause a very beneficial change because you are working directly on your, primarily unconscious, deep structure map of reality! By the way you can solve problems quickly with the use of metaphors as this tool from my Awesome Mind Power Techniques eBook demonstrates:

What is that like? Metaphors

1. What is your problem like? eg) It’s like a brick wall or It’s like I’m stuck in mud.

2. Allow yourself to become aware of this internal metaphor. There is a lot of unconscious information in this image that can help you solve the problem. Notice the colours, size, distance, texture. Any sounds?

3. Now what could you do to enhance this imagery? Can you pan back and ‘see the bigger picture’ ? Or simply add in some blue sky with fluffy clouds and shining sun beams. What happens if you add a soundtrack?

4. Play with this metaphor until you feel something shifting. Often the whole metaphorical image will change at some point.

5. Think about something totally different. And then think of the original problem and notice how it has changed.

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