In John F. Kennedy’s speech about the Space Race, he announced that “America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.” JFK used this metaphor as a declaration for taking charge of the race. It’s a beautiful turn of phrase that epitomizes the power of metaphors.
Metaphors, however, can have many purposes. They can be used to enhance writing, make persuasive arguments, motivate people, serve as symbols, and explain abstract concepts such as love, life, and success.
Here are 3 of my favourites:
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso
I’m not rich. I didn’t win the genetic lottery. And I lost most of my life to addiction. So why the hell am I so happy? Simple. Because I use challenges as fuel and I focus on growth.
Every situation is an opportunity to grow, especially difficult ones. Here are several examples from my own journey:
I lost 15 years of my life to heroin addiction, but today it is my greatest ally. The lessons I’ve learned have helped me to write my memoir, secure a PhD scholarship, and become a neuroscience lecturer. …
When our minds hold onto negative beliefs, “I can’t cope, I’m a failure,” it looks for ways to sustain these beliefs. Thankfully, when we hold onto positive beliefs, “I can do anything I put my mind to,” the same rules apply.
In his exceptional book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz wrote about this phenomena. He describes disbelief as negative power: “When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts reasons to support the disbelief.” Whereas, belief, he suggests, strong belief, “triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how to.”
Many great thinkers share the same view…
Two young fish are swimming along when they happen to meet an older, wiser fish swimming the other way. The older fish nods and says, “Good morning boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish smile, nod, and continue on their way. As they glide through the water in silence, eventually, one of them turns around to the other and says, “What the hell is water?”
The point of this parable — first told by David Foster Wallace — is that the most obvious and important realities are often the most difficult to see.
Mental models are psychological explanations of…
Whitney Cummings is a highly successful comedian from Los Angeles. From 2011 to 2013, she produced and starred in her own comedy show called Whitney. During this time, however, she nearly destroyed her show because she was plagued by the toxic habit of people-pleasing.
“I was so afraid of people not liking me… people would pitch jokes, and I would say ‘yes’ to all of them, because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. …
I spent most of my life mindlessly obsessing about the past and the future. I was consumed by anxiety and tormented by my mind, but completely unaware of the source of my suffering.
To escape my pain, I used drugs, resulting in 15 years of chronic heroin addiction. Heroin brought me to the very edge, but I was lucky. Pounded into submission by the most painful night of my life, I was forced to look at the world from a completely new perspective.
For the past seven years, I’ve been obsessed with language and self-talk, and how they relate to emotion. This obsession grew out of the realization that self-talk and anxiety drove me toward a life of heroin addiction.
Driven by childhood trauma, I was tormented by the voices in my head, and the stories that I told myself. As I got older, my anxiety got worse, and so did my urge to escape it.
I’ve been looking for answers my entire life. Whether I was seeking to improve my emotional health, my spiritual world, my relationships, or my career, I was always looking for answers.
I read hundreds of books, thousands of blogs, and completed many courses. I’m also in the final year of a PhD in psychology and I teach neuroscience at the top two universities in Ireland. I’ve found lots of valuable information on my journey, but I never found what I was looking for, especially when I tried to apply it to my own daily life.
Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now, widely regarded as one of the most influential spiritual books of our time. At the age of 29, he experienced a profound inner transformation that radically changed the course of his life.
One night, not long after his 29th birthday, he woke up in the early hours with a feeling of absolute dread. He had previously battled with anxiety and suicidal depression, but it was more intense than ever before, and he began to question his reason for living. …
Someone once told me the definition of hell: “On your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.”
When I first heard this line, it sent shivers down my spine. Why? Because by the time I was 35, I had lost my entire adult life through fear: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of risk, fear of change, and most of all, fear of anxiety, which I medicated with heroin for 15 years.