Thursday, 7 May 2015

Power of Metaphors

Once I had a job interview where my interviewer didn't ask about my skills or competencies but simply asked what kind of animal I would be and why.

I bit caught of guard I had to think about it for a while. However, I quickly found myself describing myself as a cat.

One that loves to be in the safety of her home, but needs to go out regularly to explore new adventures. One who likes to get and give attention. A cat that likes to hunt and meet other cats. Or dogs. Or any animal.

One that can put her claws out if things are going to slow. One that can easily adapt to any situation. And usually likes to go her own way. A cat that believes only she is responsible for mice she does or does not catch.

You get the picture.

Before I knew it I was telling so much open and honest information about myself. All because of the simple power of a metaphor.

The best description of a metaphor is something like 'imagery by comparison. "
And what makes it so powerful is that a metaphor activates our imagination. It forces us to think visual and creative.

That is precisely why I love to use metaphors in my work as a trainer.

One metaphor that I regularly use are the wonderful characters from Winnie the Pooh:

Eeyore: Likes to take things slow and is a sensitive soul. However he's also quickly disappointed and sometimes feels like the victim of circumstances.

Piglet: Very amiable and cares about the others think. Is also very cautious and a little anxious. Wants people to like him.

Winnie the Pooh: Cares about the simple things in life. Does everything well and often wonders about the unknown. Is rarely worried about something.

Rabbit: Get's a bit grumpy if things don't go the way he wants. He's impatient and likes to have things under control. He always wants more.

Tiger: Excitable and energetic. The entertainer in groups and the leader of ideas. Can be a bit overwhelming for some people.

Owl: Smart and thoughtful. He is guided by reason and loves facts. Can be a little scattered.

Kanga: Caring and helpful. Thinks about other first and is very approachable. Always friendly and happy to help others.

So with what character(s) do you identify yourself the most?

At InterACT we love creative learning methods.
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