Welcome to this edition of the Voyages of Discovery Newsletter, the newsletter that is all about you and your voyages of discovery of your genius. If you missed our previous newsletters, get them here
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Wishing all of our readers a wonderful, prosperous New Year 2013!
Meta4s rule your life
Will you start 2013 on a clean slate?
Metaphors abound in your life. They punctuate every twist and turn that is the roller coaster ride of life. (How is that for a metaphor?). Anyway, to begin with, you use metaphors all the time to express yourself. You talk about money going down the drain, shooting yourself in the foot, putting the cart before the horse, brain storming and so forth. Did you notice that each time you made these phrases, they called to mind an image. You saw or imagined money traveling down the drain pipe, a shot going through your foot, placing the cart in front of the horse, a storm occurring in your brain and so on. Of course, since you use these expressions all the time and almost without noticing, the imagery is fleeting. But it is there.
Why does this happen?
This is because a metaphor is basically a word picture, and every time you use one you reinforce the point you are making and usually in an emotional way. Actually, because you know this reinforcement occurs, you use metaphors day in day out in ordinary conversations and as said before usually without thinking too much about it.
Since metaphors make you conjure up word pictures in your mind, they are all about imagery and visualizations. In fact, the dictionary meaning of metaphor itself says: "one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness." This substitution of one idea for another often takes the form of images. Imagery is thus at the core of metaphors. In all forms of communication, be it writing, presenting, storytelling, announcing, reporting and so forth, this imagery is present. It may be used to a greater or lesser degree but it is what makes the communication so clear in its meaning. For instance, in the world of writing, metaphors help to create imagery in the minds of the readers.
Why should you create imagery in the minds of the readers?
Imagery is that same method used successfully by writers to paint pictures of scenes and characters and situations in the minds of readers. Rather than expressing something in a bland, uninteresting way, using a metaphor elevates it to an experience that the reader goes through. Suddenly they seem to be taking part in the action which is actually the narrative.
The beauty of metaphors is in their seamless permeation into the story that is unfolding. When you write or say:"He had a Sword of Damocles hanging over his head," what you meant was not a physical sword hanging over the person's head but a very precarious situation fraught with danger. Metaphors are thus one of the most powerful tools of effective storytelling.
Humans think in metaphors and learn through stories. Instead of relating an incident like it is prose you weave a story around it with characters, emotions, ups and downs and a conclusion. It is the drama of life being enacted in your stories. Good communicators consciously use metaphors to engage their audiences.
If you have ever sat through a boring presentation where the presenter just plods on with those million bullet point ridden slides (thank you Microsoft for earning that dubious distinction) and there is no oomph in the narrative, you probably appreciated that not everyone is able to keep your attention. In fact, you long for somebody who could do that. Making presentations and keeping your audience interested is not an easy task.
Every one of us has different energy levels and different spans of attention. Keeping your audience riveted to the message you are conveying is paramount though. Metaphors make your task simpler in a powerful way.
The objectives of using metaphors in a presentation (or any form of communication ) are:
The human mind loves to make comparisons between different things and detect patterns.
- To create a shortcut to understanding
- To use an unrelated concept to best convey the essence of another concept, and
- To simplify what is complex
Not only does it love to do that but it does that with unerring accuracy. It is a virtual pattern recognition machine. In fact, studies have shown that the human mind can see patterns when there are none and this creates new train of thought. Brainstorming and lateral thinking are all about metaphorical expression.
The Surprise factor
The human mind also responds sharply to emotions and one of the greatest of emotions is surprise. Surprise makes you sit up and take notice. It jolts your senses. It goes off the beaten path. In its journey, surprise like many other emotions rides piggyback on metaphors
. Metaphors embellish emotions.
Surprise is one of the most critical factors in holding audience attention in any form of communication. The mind is riveted by anything unexpected and focuses its full attention to it.
As a simple but prolific example of this phenomenon, for those of us who have watched some of the unlimited number of You Tube Videos on the Internet for inspiration, you may have noticed that the most mind boggling (pun intended) number of views were of videos which harnessed the emotion of surprise. For example, the video posted by Blendtec for its Blenders where they throw in smartphones and all kinds of mobile devices - in this case they throw in the iPhone - and blend them in their machine has more than 10 Million Views. You cannot believe what you see. You are not merely surprised, you are shocked (another facet of surprise). (Click here
to watch the video. That is not only the power of surprise but that of metaphors also which harness that to the hilt. In this instance of metaphors using one thing or idea which is unrelated to express another is borne out in a bizarre (surprise element!) fashion.
Let me leave you with this suggestion.
The next time you want to get your point across powerfully in any form of communication (particularly presentations and the like), observe how you use metaphors. It will be a discovery that will "shock" you.
How is that for a New Year Resolution?
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|The Power of Question Visualizations|
Are you vision tested?
No, I don't mean: have you visited your ophthalmologist to check your eye sight.
Mark Twain once said: "You cannot blame your eye sight when your vision is blurred!"
By vision what I mean is a peek into your future. Hold it right there! Am I asking you to go crystal ball gazing? Am I asking you to practise clairvoyance? Who can look into the future? I must be daft.
Nope! None of the above. And I have not gone nuts too. I have no intention of having you float around the house like an apparition, dreamy eyed (and possibly smash into the first obstacle in the way that you never saw coming). And then curse me for suggesting preposterous schemes doomed to fail on inception.
What I am suggesting is a hard look at the way you are considering your present situation and make a determination to not only think of your future but how to influence it strongly through a positive, obsessive mindset. That, I may venture to say, is eminently doable.
Aldous Huxley the English writer said: "Experience is not what happens to you but what you do with what happens to you!" If that be the definition of experience then visualization must be: "What you do to design your future through learning from your past."
Your Belief System
All great endeavors are born out of a dream, a burning desire, a passion, an obsession. Every worthwhile achievement is rooted in belief. This is all about trusting yourself and your abilities and while you may not be able to see the future right now, you are able to visualize it. Through effort, you then bring that visualization to reality.
But belief systems are like seeds which first need to be planted properly and then nurtured through their growth into beautiful plants. Ironically, you have inadvertently established many hurdles in the way of creating and nurturing such a belief system. You are so engrossed in riding out the frenetic present that you have no time to think about the future. In short, you have no time to craft a strategy or a game plan for your future. You have adopted the "take it as it comes" approach. That is a pity because you have within yourself a phenomenal apparatus called your sub-conscious mind which is a virtuoso at helping you design your future and then see it to fruition. This apparatus uses the power of thought to drive its magical results.
A Questioning mind-set
Many centuries ago, Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest geniuses of all time, postulated a questioning state of mind. Leonardo was perpetually in a question mode. He asked the simplest form of questions about things that we all take for granted. These ranged from "Why is the sky blue in color" through "how do birds fly" to intricate ones like "why does the nail fly out fast in a certain direction when the hammer comes down on it at an angle and not squarely on its head"? Things intrigued him all the time. He never took anything at face value and sought to get to the most minute details of everything he studied. This method of perennially asking questions was what led him to make amazing inventions and discoveries far ahead of his times (he invented the principle of a parachute long before even aircrafts were conceived of!!).
Let me take you on a Voyage of Discovery with this technique of Leonardo. Assume you want to know:"What am I passionate about?" (something all of us are interested in). This could be passion in your work place, personal life, success, happiness, contribution to society, charity and so forth. Follow the below instructions faithfully and surprise yourself.
100 Questions on "What am I passionate about?"
Find a quiet spot on your own and write down in one continuous sitting 100 Questions on "What am I passionate about."
Questions can cover work, personal life, career, dreams, family, romance, creativity, strengths, abilities, fears, or any other topic as long as they relate to what you are passionate about. Questions can be related to one another.
It is very important that you complete this exercise strictly in one continuous sitting for therein lies its powerful application. You will find that at the end of the exercise a pattern or theme will emerge which will give you insights into what you are passionate about.
It is also important that you DO NOT think about the answers to the questions, just concentrate on the questions only.
At the end of the 100 questions, go through them once and then put them away somewhere safe. Re-visit the questions on a regular basis and still remember, do not worry about the answers.
The purpose of the 100 question exercise is to kindle the most powerful, deepest and close to your heart, thoughts and your self image about your passions, creativity, talents, strengths, fears etc., in the form of questions. In coming up with the 100 questions, it will be seen that the first twenty questions can be rattled off at a quick pace but as you get further into the 50s and further into the 70s and 80s, you will need to delve into your innermost thoughts to elicit the questions. It is believed that in the last 20 questions (80 to 100), some stunning revelations could emerge that are life changing.
The Brain's sub conscious will take the 100 questions into its repository and as you re-visit them it will go to work on the questions. This is certain to lead to some fascinating insights into your passions, motivations, thinking and dreams.
Many years back I completed a similar exercise [that was titled: What is important to you?] and one of the items in those 100 questions was about " how can I express myself in writing form (for which I had flair and something that came naturally to me) for the world to see". The result of that powerful introspection was the book I completed and published in February 2012 (click here
If you are interested in going on similar voyages of discovery of your abilities, read the book "Discover the Genius in the Mirror
- you are an Einstein waiting to be discovered
"by clicking here
Let me leave you with this quote:
World renowned Motivation Guru Tony Robbins said: "Successful people ask better questions and as a result, they get better answers."
Resolve to ask yourself better questions in 2013.
You may get closer to crafting your destiny.
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|Next Issue (see you in February 2013)|
|The road to your passion|
Have you found your inspirational time of the day - magic moments of stimulation, creativity and purpose. Read why and how.
You need to be out of the box first to think outside it? Are you?
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