What are Metaphors in NLP?
To avoid confusion, let’s start with a common definition of metaphor that you probably encountered in your high school literature class:
“A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true, but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.”
Your teacher probably went on to demonstrate this with examples of famous metaphors – mostly pithily stated and highly memorable phrases. This is good as far as it goes, but NLP draws on a far older form of metaphor in which example and teaching are embedded in stories that shaped how people were to think about:
If you want to see how metaphor works in this way, think about the ancient texts that were used to teach children how to live and grow and respond to their world even more than as tools of literacy. You’re thinking of Homer, Vergil, the Bible, Confucius, the Koran, even Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and the oral traditions that permeate many pre-literate societies.
This is metaphor… a powerful tool for shaping hearts, minds, and behaviours.