in Creativity, Motivation, Philosophy, Psychology


“Metaphor is not just the detection of patterns; it is the creation of patterns.” – James Geary

Have you stopped and thought about the metaphors you use?

Just so we’re clear, we’re not talking about platitudes like “you gotta do what you gotta do” or an aphorisms like “life is short, art is long”. A metaphor is an object, activity, or idea that’s used as a symbol of something else like “he’s the light of my life”, “she’s feeling blue” or “i’m walking on air”.

Weather Girls

“It’s raining men” is a wonderful metaphor. In real life though? I’d say “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs”.

Let’s say you’re having a tough time and feeling stressed out. You could say things like:

– My life is a madhouse.
– I’m navigating a tiny ship on a stormy sea.
– The walls are closing in on me.
– I’m waging a battle on many fronts.
– I’m barely keeping my head above water.

These are really poetic ways of describing what we feel like we’re going through. But are they true? No. But they make us feel a certain way. Plus, it’s easy to throw out there and relate to, “tell me about it girlfriend!”.

This is the power of metaphors. They FEEL true. The problem is that the way we use them, they often strip us of our power. They lock us into one approach towards the issue. If we use a metaphor that makes us feel like it’s a battle against overwhelming odds, well, there ya go! You’ve just turned it into a battle.

What if you turned the battle into a dance? Instead of using brute force and imposing your will you could find a more graceful way to move around the problem dancing your way to a solution.

Corny as hell? You betcha! A great way to change your mindset? Most definitely!

Sumo Ballerina

In the immortal words of Busta Rhymes: “Everybody spread love. Gimme sumo.”

“A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool”, metaphorically speaking of course. Here a few more quotes that might come in handy!

“It’s a wonderful metaphor, catching a wave, for how you can look at other challenges in your life.” – Jeff Bridges

“There are few things as toxic as a bad metaphor. You can’t think without metaphors.” – Mary Catherine Bateson

“Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

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