Chapter 14 - Mindsets and Metaphors

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Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five. —Benjamin Franklin


In This Chapter

  • Learn how to use mindsets and metaphors to improve your motivation.
  • Learn how to effectively change your mindsets to improve your effectiveness in any situation.
  • Learn how to make the most of luck.


This chapter shows you how to make the most of your mindsets and metaphors. The key to inspired action is using powerful imagery to invoke your emotions. World-class athletes use metaphors, visualizations, and winning mindsets to produce powerful results—you can too. You can easily change your mindset by asking different questions or “switching hats.”


This chapter also helps you know the impact of personality type, focus, and attribution. Your personality type influences your motivation. For example, introverts tend to get energy when they’re alone, while extroverts get their energy when they’re with others. Where you put your focus (such as on yourself or others; on the situation; or in the past, present, or future) shapes your thinking, feeling, and doing.


A mindset is a mental attitude. It shapes your actions and your thoughts, as well as how you perceive and respond to events. A common example is whether you see the glass “half empty” or “half full.” Your mindset can quickly change what you think, feel, and do. The irony of a mindset is that sometimes you don’t know that you’re stuck in one until you step out or adopt a different mindset. The trick is knowing how to switch mindsets. While there are lots of ways to change your mindset, I’ve found these to be the most effective ways: changing your questions, changing your metaphors, or changing the questions you ask yourself. Asking “What’s wrong with this picture?” is completely different than asking “What’s right?” In It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character, George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, focuses on what’s wrong with his life, until an angel who needs his wings shows him what’s right with it. He realizes he’s actually had a wonderful life.


Metaphors can be enabling or disabling. One of my most effective mentors taught me to think of metaphors as emotional picture words. With the right metaphor, you can inspire yourself to action. With the wrong metaphors you can quickly create a dark cloud that consumes you. When I work on big projects that need to make big impact, I think of it as an “epic adventure.” This inspires me and the team to bold action. A colleague said he thinks of me as the director of blockbusters, so metaphors have an impact on how you see yourself and how others see you, too. When I think of stages in life, I think of boy, warrior, king, and sage. During my warrior years, I push myself to my limits, give my best where I have my best to give, and I mentor others. In fact, I like the mentor metaphor over guru. Another metaphor that helps me on projects is knowing whether I’m the quarterback or the coach, and when I’m not the quarterback, I need a quarterback I trust. Bruce Lee considered himself first and foremost a fighter and this metaphor shaped his life. Here is a simple, empowering metaphor we can all use: “You’re the director of your life.”


Whether life is a bowl of cherries and you get the pits, or the world is your oyster and you look for the pearls, you decide. In The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch taught us to choose whether we spring through life like Tigger, or mope through each day like Eeyore. Choosing your mindset and metaphors is one of the most powerful things you can do to shape your every day experience, and ultimately your life.


Note - The rest of this chapter is temporarily unavailable until January 30th. In the meantime, you can get the book on Amazon.


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