“The quality of our life is determined by moment-to-moment state of our emotions.” -Anthony Robbins
True story taken from a Florida newspaper:
A man, after fighting with his wife, decided to work on his motorcycle on his patio to clear his head. His wife was in the house in the kitchen. The man was racing the engine on the motorcycle and somehow, the motorcycle slipped into gear. The man, still holding the handlebars, was dragged through a glass patio door and along with the motorcycle dumped onto the floor inside the house. The wife, hearing the crash, ran into the dining room, and found her husband lying on the floor, cut and bleeding, the motorcycle lying next to him and the patio door shattered. The wife ran to the phone and summoned an ambulance.
After the ambulance transported the husband to the hospital, the wife turned the motorcycle upright and pushed it outside. Seeing that gas had spilled on the floor, the wife got some papers towels, blotted up the gasoline, and threw the towels in the toilet. The husband was treated in the hospital and was released to go home.
When he arrived home, he looked at the shattered patio door and the damage done to his motorcycle. He became despondent, went into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and smoked a cigarette. After finishing the cigarette, he flipped it between his legs into the toilet bowl while still seated.
The wife, who was in the kitchen, heard a loud explosion and her husband screaming. She ran into the bathroom and found her husband lying on the floor. His trousers had been blown away. He had burns on his buttocks, the back of his legs, and groin.
The wife again ran to the phone and called for an ambulance. The same ambulance crew was dispatched and the wife met them on the street. The paramedics loaded the husband on the stretcher and began carrying him. While they were going down the stairs to the street accompanied by the wife, one of the paramedics asked the wife how the husband burned himself. She told them that she dumped the spilled gasoline in the toilet. The paramedics started laughing so hard, one of them tripped. The stretcher outbalanced and the husband fell down the remaining steps and broke his arm.
Now THAT is a really bad day... Hilarious, but this is a true story. Just think… What if the man and his wife changed their internal representation and forgave each other for whatever fault or argument they had? Most probably, none of the other things would have happened! Indeed, the moment-by-moment state of our emotions affects our lives. The question is, how do we make our mind DEFAUT to auto-positive so that when bad things happen and they always do, then we quickly RESET to positivity? Here are one way using NLP but first do this activity quickly.
Draw a Symbol of Yourself.
Make a drawing that will symbolize who you are. Do it quickly. What is the first image you think about? Do not over think it. Get some paper and pen for this. Stop reading and draw now!
Some people will draw a picture of the sun, an eagle, a house, a tree, a scenery, etc. It varies depending on the person and there is no right or wrong drawing for this. What is important is to draw the initial thoughts that come to mind. If you do not know how to draw, it is okay because what is important is to do the exercise rather than a great drawing.
Power of Metaphors
Metaphors are a simple way to add juice to your life. By using metaphors, we can empower ourselves more effectively and create more meaningful and compelling situations and circumstances. When you use metaphors that connect to our values, we find ways to turn ordinary situations into extraordinary situations. For example, I don’t drive a project; “I lead an epic adventure.”
In our life, it’s our story and we are the director. We choose what to point our camera at and the meaning we’ll make. Metaphors help us shape our story.
It’s about language and the pictures we hold in our minds. Creating a vision and holding it in our heads will tend to steer us towards the emotions and feelings that we associate with such picture. Whether or not the picture is an accurate representation of what we are relating it to, we tend to create that picture anyway –and the emotions that go along with it. Therefore, it has a tendency to become reality, at least on an emotional level. The bottom line is, metaphors shape our overall experience, filter what we perceive, and influence how we make meaning. We are the most important meaning maker (and perhaps not always the best, especially if it’s by default and not by design).
We must choose our metaphors thoughtfully. Here’s why:
1. They shape our experience.
2. They empower us to change how we think and feel (and our thinking and feeling impact what we do).
3. They help us make meaning.
Whether a metaphor is positive or negative is entirely up to you. For example, most people would probably think of “an uphill battle” as negative. Then again, some people may like the challenge. It’s how you think that decides whether it’s a positive or negative metaphor.
Metaphors for You
You can use metaphors for who you are or what you do, as a simple way to shape your experience or to help others make sense of what you do. Here are some examples: I’m a survivor. I’m a lover. I’m a fighter. I’m a healer. I’m a teddy bear. I’m a lion. I’m an eagle. I’m a peaceful warrior. I’m a truth seeker. I’m a mentor. I’m a lion.
Again, we must take care in deciding on our metaphor, because it has a major impact on our lives. For example: Are you an “old dog,” a “lifelong learner,” “forever young,” or “young at heart”? Do you “age like a fine wine and get better with age”? The choice is yours.
Metaphors for Life
Likewise, your metaphor on the meaning of life has a big impact on your day-to-day experience. Your metaphor for life shapes your day-to-day experience in simple but profound ways. Here is a beautiful metaphor by Mother Teresa about life.
We can see how Mother Teresa lived by this life metaphor. She saw life as precious, no matter how poor. She fought for every life, overcame every sorrow in life, accepted the struggle, and thus helped so many.
Some people see life as a tragedy –it becomes one. Others see life as a game –you might try to find out how to win. For some, life is a comedy – maybe every day is like a favorite sitcom.
If life is a dance, maybe you find ways to see grace or beauty in yourself and others. If life is magic, then you find the wonder in the world and you enjoy seeking out mystery and possibility. In summary, this is what metaphors do for us:
1. Metaphors shape our experience.
2. Metaphors can be a simple way to empower us.
3. Choose the metaphors that work for you.
4. You can find a metaphor for yourself and for life.
Do you have an EMPOWERING LIFE METAPHOR?
I asked you to make a symbol of yourself. The symbol that you drew is actually a very powerful metaphor that is running sub-consciously. It dictates a lot of decisions and choices that you make because it becomes a filter and map of the world for you. For several years, I used the metaphor “an eagle” to describe myself. This allowed me to drive myself to push for excellence in my work and seek leadership positions. However, after awhile, I realized that this metaphor did not match my passion of inspiring people to achieve their maximum potential. It was here that I realized I needed to change my metaphor. Now, I use “builder and coach” as my metaphor.
DO YOU HAVE AN EMPOWERING LIFE METAPHOR? If not, you may want to review it because our metaphors affect our day-to-day decisions and actions. If you investsome time now to answer and reflect on these 6 questions, you will have an empowering metaphor that will allow you to default your mind to be always positive.
Does my present drawing of myself, my metaphor:
1. Help me face challenges?
2. Motivate me to have positive states?
3. Inspire me to build my skills?
4. Is it aligned to my values/beliefs?
5. Is it aligned to my life purpose/
6. Is it what God wants me to do?
SOMETIMES, A METAPHOR CAN BE WORDS YOU CONSISTENTLY USE? ASK YOURSELF, WHAT WORDS DO YOU USE OFTEN? IT WILL SHAPE YOUR LIFE!
One day, I was talking to the CEO of a major corporation. It has been two (2) years since the holding company was established. The family placed her in charge. There were strains in her face as she said:
“I feel that I’m being pulled in all directions. I am the KNOT that brings everyone to the right directions. I PULL the shareholders. I PULL the managers. And, I PULL the employees together. I am the KNOT that holds everything together.”
I thought, I’d certainly be strained if I were a KNOT. I imagined a knot holding three boats moving in different directions. The poor knot will get all the pressure to hold the boats. I looked at the CEO, smiled, and said:
“I don’t think you are the KNOT that brings everyone together!” She looked at me puzzled. “What do you mean?” she asked. I continued: “I think... (I spoke slowly) you are... (I paused as she waited). I think you are THE HEART that brings life and inspires everyone to the right direction.”
She was taken aback. She paused in deep thought. Then a smile broke out and an “AHA” look. “You are right! I am the HEART. That’s a better analogy and it removes the stress of being a knot.” Two years later, I met her again and she thanked me for changing her description. She said she became happpier and relaxed. She became an inspiration to her family and workers. Simple words, simple metaphors but it affects our daily life.
Do this activity for your family and friends.
I shared this process to my children. I asked them to draw or think of picture to represent themselves then ask the 6 questions to evaluate their metaphor. I was surprised that one of them had a metaphor of the scene in Beauty and the Beast of a rose in a glass casing with the petals falling one at a time! Oh my! Sometimes our children will pick up things emotionally in the moment without thinking and that can become a life metaphor.
Thanks to NLP, after asking the 6 questions, all my children now have empowering metaphors.
Learn more from Jojo Apolo in our upcoming Performance Leadership Workshop on 27 Feb to 01 March and 8-10 October in Singapore or 01-03 July in KL, Malaysia. While, we are running Leapfrog Your Business & Yourself Seminar on March 7-9 and June 7-9 in Manila, Philippines or November 1-3 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Both courses include NLP Basic Practitioners Certification Course.
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