Category Archives: Metaphor

Leverage Their Common Fears and Desires

Find Their Treasure

Joseph Campbell studied mythology from different cultures.

He found they all had the same basic structure.

According to Campbell, there are only two possible reasons for this.

One is that there is one “source” from which all mythology draws from.

Another is that all humans share the same experiences, desires, fears, and so we come up with the same basic stories to describe them.

Take dragons, for example.

They exist in both Western and Eastern cultures.

Going far, far back before there was any interaction.

Why might this be?

Especially when they both breathed fire?

Maybe because both cultures had experience with poison snakes. Then around these small but deadly creatures arose a mythology to describe them.

The fundamental truth of us humans is that we ARE pretty similar.

We have the same fears, the same desires and the same old obstacles that keep us trapped.

This is pretty good news.

Because when you demonstrate an understanding of where somebody else is coming from, you can develop a much, much deeper connection.

Next time you are thinking of talking to somebody new, put your mind in curiosity mode. And wonder how many ways you are SIMILAR to that other person. Even make a game of trying to find out, conversationally.

This goes beyond simple things like “liking music” or “hating your boss.”

Look for structural things. Things like having a job to pay the bills, but is not nearly tapping your potential.

This is easy, since you share many things with many people.

And once you take the effort to dig beneath the superficial surface, you’ll find treasure within.

And when YOU can help somebody else find THEIR treasure, what do you think will happen?

They’ll start to associate THEIR treasure with YOU.

Which means every time they think about you they’ll think WONDERFUL thoughts.

How many ways can this come in handy?

Any time you want to talk to another human, pretty much!

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Crush Your Inner Demons

Crush Your Demons

What is it about some movies that make you want to watch them over and over, yet other movies you only want to see once?

I’ve seen plenty of movies, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of movies.

But some movies, even though I’d rate them pretty high, I already know I don’t want to see them again.

But other movies, I enjoy watching them every couple years or so.

Same with books. There’s a few books I’ve read several times.

What’s the difference?

For me, at least, some stories are heavy on dramatic suspense. The story and characters draw you in, and you want to see what’s going to happen.

But once you know what’s going to happen, the enjoyment wears off on subsequent viewings.

Other movies don’t have that effect. Even though you KNOW what’s going to happen, you enjoy it anyway.

I think part of it has to do with the old Greek theory of “Catharsis.”

Meaning you get emotionally involved in the character, and vicariously solve your OWN emotions as the hero solves his or her problems.

Action packed movies don’t tend to have that.

But stories with strong character arcs do.

Because all us humans are continuously on our own character arc, we tend to “resonate” with those stories more.

We love to see the hero overcome their own inner demons, because as we watch them, we do so ourselves, if only a little bit.

This was the genius behind Milton Erickson.

He told stories, rather than simply talking about people about their problems.

He would match a story PERFECTLY with the person he was talking to.

And by following along, they would overcome their own problems.

That’s one way.

Which is great if you have access to a world famous hypnotist who solves people’s problems in one or two sessions.

But there is another way.

And that is to create your OWN hero’s journey in your mind.

Rehearse and practice mentally, overcoming those demons, and getting the prize.

Most people don’t like doing this.

They’d rather self-medicate themselves with hours and hours of brainless TV.

Not that there’s not good stuff on TV.

But when you make and watch YOUR OWN mental moves, they are necessarily going to be a PERFECT match to help you conquer your inner demons.

And believe me, we ALL have inner demons.

The whole character arc of life is to conquer inner AND outer demons. The more successful you get, the bigger the demons get.

You will NEVER face a demon you cannot destroy.

But you HAVE to face it.

With practice, it’s easy.

Mental exercise. Focus on what you want. Train your mind to expect to get it.

That way, you can more easily focus on what’s on the OTHER SIDE of that imaginary demon, that the demon itself.

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Subliminal Programming

Have You Started Your Adventure Yet?

What's Buried Under Your Church?

What Do You Have Buried?

​There’s an interesting book called “The Alchemist.” 

About a guy who sets out into the world to discover his riches. He hears about this mysterious science called “Alchemy” where you can turn rocks into gold. 

Everywhere he goes, he hears stories about this mysterious man who can allegedly perform such magic. Through his travels, the hero meets a lot of people, learns all kinds of skills, but eventually comes home empty handed.

Only when he comes home, he finds that underneath the church where he lives, there is lots of gold buried.

Now, the question is, could he have taken a shortcut and just gone straight for the gold?

Or did he have to spend YEARS roaming the world, having adventure after adventure?

Did he need to go through that in order to ready himself to find the gold?

Of course, the gold is a metaphor. The church is also a metaphor.

You have gold, or greatness, inside of you. But can you take a shortcut and find it now, or do you need to go out into the world and have adventure after adventure?

A few people are lucky. They stumble their way to greatness. But are they REALLY lucky?

They finally realize that have what most people only dream about, but they aren’t really happy.

They really have no idea what they did, or how they achieved what they have.

This is why so many movie stars and musicians suffer from various addictions.

Sure, it’s important to “follow your bliss.”

But if ALL you feel is bliss, you won’t have nearly a strong sense of accomplishment.

No matter WHAT you want to achieve with your life, you WILL have to get out into the world and have some adventures.

And you WILL need to accept the idea that many times you WON’T get what you want.

But you WILL be able to turn those experiences into even better ones later, if you are willing to accept ALL feedback during your adventures. NOT just the good stuff.

Most successful entrepreneurs know that it takes a few failed businesses before you hit it big.

Few people meet their dream mates the very first time they talk to an attractive person. Most people realize you’ve got to at least go on a few dates before you find THE ONE (whatever that means to you.).

No matter WHAT you are intending, riches, fame, health, greatness, getting involved with other people is crucial.

Unfortunately, that is the ONE THING that most people would like to avoid.

Which means when you learn how to interact with others in a way that will leave a positive trail of happiness behind you, you’ll have an decided advantage.

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Are You Using The Right Metaphor?

Are You Using The Best Map?

Change Your Map

​There’re a lot of mystery surrounding the “conscious” and the “unconscious.”

Like they are two separate things. One in one part of your brain, and another in another part of your brain.

Your “conscious” wants to do something, but your “subconscious” is holding you back.

Or your “conscious” is the captain while the “subconscious” is the ship.

In reality, these are all metaphors. Metaphors, of course, are very simple explanations for much, much deeper phenomenon.

When they say “The Map is Not The Territory,” in this case, any metaphor is a map, and the reality is the territory.

I like reading books about history. Back in those days, those dudes had some messed up maps. Which meant they never really knew where they were going.

If you’re going off a bad map, or a map that doesn’t have an alligator swamp or a tiger valley, you might run into trouble.

Often times, in order to save brain power, we think the map IS the territory.

Unfortunately, the map, or the metaphor, in this case, is only a guess. An approximation.

If we were scientists, we’d come up with a model. Then we’d test the model against what we saw. Then if the model didn’t accurately predict what we saw, we’d have to change our model.

Once there was a guy on a ship. The sea was rough, so he grabbed onto the anchor. It saved his life. But then the ship came into calm waters, and dropped the anchor. The guy was still scared, so he held on. He figured it worked before, why not now?

Well, after the guy died, he realized his mistake.

Never hang onto something when it’s not working!

Of course, giving up a model, or a map, or a metaphor you’ve held dear for a long time can be tough.

But the bottom line is you HAVE to ask yourself this question:

“Am I getting what I want?”

If you are, then keep doing whatever you’ve been doing.

If not, then the answer is clear. Do something else!

Try another model. Try another metaphor. Try anything!

So long as you have a clear goal in mind, and you’re brave enough to measure ALL feedback along the way, and adjust accordingly, you will not fail.

Doesn’t matter WHAT model or metaphor you use. If it works, it works.

If you need to shake your brain up and look at things differently, so you can start getting better results, give some of these tools a try.

They’ve helped plenty others, and they can help you.

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True Meaning Beneath The Surface

What Is Really Beneath The Surface?

Who Are You?

​We use way more metaphors than we realize.

Step up to the plate, take the bull by the horns, measure twice cut once.

Even within common sentences like “fall in love,” or “work through problems” are metaphors.

The nouns “love” and “problems” don’t really exist. Sure, they exist in our minds, but you can’t pick them up and throw them out the window. They are metaphors to describe very complicated underlying phenomena.

But when we use them in sentences, our monkey brains have to use them AS IF they were regular objects.

If you know anything about NLP, you know the famous saying, “The Map Is Not The Territory.” (Which, by the way, was invented by a guy who had nothing to do with NLP…).

What does this mean? Metaphors are only an approximation. NOT the real thing.

Sometimes we start to think that the metaphor IS the thing, rather than a handy description of something that we can NEVER truly understand.

What’s the biggest metaphor of all?


Your sense of self. The idea of you. Always changing. Every few years, all the molecules, cells, etc. will be replaced. Every breath is an exchange of matter. Inorganic matter that somehow sustains life.

The YOU who is reading this sentence now is a different YOU that started reading this sentence.

Every moment you are updating your memories, rearranging your thoughts, and even shifting slightly in your posture based on millions of subconscious programs all running at once.

There’s a saying in the dating community that “Women aren’t meant to be understood, only appreciated.”

Maybe this applies to YOU as well.

Sometimes it’s necessary to understand why you do things. What made you say that thing to that person, or why you want to do something but are too nervous. Once you can figure that out, you can go back in your mind and tweak your personal history a bit. Give yourself more freedom and choice. Less fear and more courage.

Other times, though, it’s better to stop wondering. Stop asking. Stop trying to figure yourself out.

Just relax, sink deep into your thoughts, and appreciate yourself. Appreciate your energy. A connection to the source. From far back to the moment of creation, far out into the future.

That endless stream of energy in which you are now relaxing. 

Take some time every day, to sit with yourself just a few minutes. Close your eyes. Feel your feelings. Feel your energy. And appreciate yourself.

Just as you are.

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Multi-Dimensional Rabbits

Two Dimensional Rabbits

The Meaning of Metaphors

There’s a saying that a dog can only chase one rabbit.

Meaning that if tries to chase two, he’ll get neither.

And all metaphors, they can be applied, or they can be misapplied.

The problem with metaphors is they are the “map” in that famous NLP saying, “The Map is Not The Territory.”

I am currently reading a very interesting history of Africa, going back over 5000 years.

One of the early questions was the source of the Nile. A huge river of MASSIVE importance to trade, agriculture, and the economic health. Naturally, people wanted to know where it started.

Like all things, once we understand how important something is, we want to find out where it came from. After all, if this thing is super ultra important, imagine the source!

Anyhow, a lot of those early explorers died trying to find the source of the Nile because they either had crappy maps, or no maps all.

Considering much of the “truths” in self development are really metaphors for VERY complicated underlying phenomenon, it SUCKS to find out you’ve been following the wrong metaphor (map) all this time!

I’m sure you know that in order to succeed, you’ve got to take risks. Nobody gets it right the first time. Even turning on your own light switch, in your own room, that you’ve lived in for YEARS requires some trial and error.

EVERYBODY needs to fumble around in the dark!

But for some reason, when we hear a simple metaphor that sounds true, we never question it.

But we should ALWAYS question everything. How? By asking if it’s working. One way to look at reality is the distance between where you are NOW, and where you want to be.

If you don’t KNOW where you want to be, then figure it out.

One thing that’s certainly NOT set in stone is having more than one destination.

Sure, if you’re a dog chasing rabbits, it really IS a good idea to only chase one rabbit at a time. Catch it, eat it, take a nap, and then chase another one.

But in life, you can have as many goals as you can imagine.

And you can chase them ALL at the same time. Because in the metaphysical plane of your mind, there are INFINITE dimensions. (That there is a metaphor that may or not be true!)

Money, relationships, health, ANYTHING. Chase them all!

Of course, the cornerstone to them is your health. Without that, there’s not much you can do.

It’s also a GREAT reminder of what you CAN do. Feel your muscles, check your space between your gut and your belt, anything that PROVES you can do anything you can set your mind to.

Blast Open Your Light

Obstacles Are Necessary

Obstacles Are Necessary

Few things are ever a straight line.

I used to go backpacking with a buddy of mine.

When you’re backpacking, you are a few days away from any kind of civilization, on foot at least.

This makes for some REALLY nice undisturbed scenery. But sometimes you’ve got to hike over some HUGE mountains to get there.

For every three or four miles through a gorgeous meadow with all kinds of flowers, lazy rivers, etc, you’ve got hoof it up some pretty steep hills.

The worst are switchbacks. The hill is too steep to walk straight up, so you’ve got to go on these really LONG back and forth trails that slowly go up to the top.

Usually to a pass, which is in between two high mountain peaks.

Some of these look REALLY intimidating from a couple miles out.

I remember one in particular. We were walking on a relatively flat surface, but it was clear that we’d be going up soon.

Couple miles ahead of us was this HUGE mountain range. And I couldn’t see ANY way over it.

But the closer we’d got, the more I started to see a brief outline of a very thin trail criss-crossing up the face.

And sure enough, when we started going up, it wasn’t that bad.

Now, had I not had any experiencing hiking up switchbacks, I could have easily looked at that seemingly insurmountable mountain range and thought, “No. Way.”

And turned around.

Luckily, PLENTY of people had gone before. Not only was their a trail (obviously) but we had a guidebook that explained exactly what to expect.

If we were some kind of settlers or immigrants, we may have given up.

A lot of things can seem IMPOSSIBLE when we first look at them. Especially when we’ve never done anything like it before.

Most of the time there’s no trail, and we don’t any guidebook telling us what to expect.

Well, that’s not really true.

The secret of all human development, creativity and inventions is the same, from a structural standpoint.

Keep trying things until you find out what works. Then do more of that.

So long as you go slow, and measure ALL your feedback, you simply CAN NOT fail.

(Unlike when you’re hiking, and making a mistake can send you off a cliff!)

The truth is that ALL HUMANS come pre-programmed to move forward into uncertainty.

Even something as simple a reaching for a light switch in the dark. You have a clear goal, and you take action.

Sure, you don’t hit the switch the first time, but you keep fumbling around until you do.

Now, it may seem like a stretch, but if you can turn on a light in the dark, you can do anything.


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