Posted by: ritagone | June 29, 2016

Making Metaphors Work For You

metaphor         Here’s a Seth Godin blog that I love, because it has to do with the use of words. I don’t think we stop often enough to ponder how we use the English language to its best as a resource, but Godin often helps us to do just that. If his writing can help us to articulate better both verbally and in writing to others around us, that’s a great achievement.

         So I encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about what he’s saying here, and enhance your vocabulary this week by using a few new metaphors. The world will certainly be your oyster. (And yes, that’s a metaphor!)



Metaphors aren’t true

But they’re useful.

That’s why professionals use them to teach, to learn and to understand.

A metaphor takes what we know and uses it as a lever to understand something else. And the only way we can do that is by starting with the true thing and then twisting it into a new thing, a thing we’ll be able to also understand.

(Of course, a metaphor isn’t actually a lever, a physical plank of wood that has a fulcrum, which is precisely my point).

The difference between the successful professional and the struggling amateur can often be seen in their respective facility with metaphor. The amateur struggles to accept that metaphor is even acceptable (“are atoms actually building blocks?”) or can’t find the powerful analogy needed to bring home the concept. Because all metaphors aren’t actually true, it takes confidence to use them well.

If you’re having trouble understanding a disconnect, or are seeking to explain why something works or doesn’t, begin with a metaphor. “Why is this new thing a lot like that understood thing…”

Metaphors aren’t true, but they work.

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