Metaphors are both stages and cages for our thinking.

“Our business is a smoothly oiled machine.”

“Life is a box of chocolates.”

“We call the boss Darth Vader”

“Kai has the heart of a lion.”

We think by comparing one thing to another (analogy) or mapping one thing onto another (metaphor).

They’re stages – platforms that boost our ideas – because they create:

– deep understanding and illumination – suddenly you can see a whole pattern!

– emotional engagement and power

Metaphor powers our language.

And they’re cages – once you ‘lock in’ to a metaphor, it limits and directs your thinking. If your business is a smoothly oiled machine, and something goes wrong, you will look for different solutions than you would for a happy and productive farm…

We never escape this pattern (how many metaphors have I used in my writing in this short update?) – but we can notice it and we can think about the limits and extensions which our metaphors offer us.

Having at least two different metaphors about the same situation is a power move.

If you’d like to have a play around with these ideas, the SCiO metaphor special starts tonight at 7pm UK time on zoom: https://scio.org.uk/events/scio-uk-metaphor-special-virtual-development-event-april-2021 It’s members only – but annual membership which gets you a lot of events and the entire published back catalogue is only £30 🙂

What’s your favourite metaphor?

What does it emphasise and what does it take you away from?

#metaphors #strategy #language #power #leadership

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