Psychological Traps Are Everywhere: Here’s How To Avoid Them

3 powerful metaphors to help you see the world more clearly

Brian Pennie
Jan 3 · 5 min read

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” — Pablo Picasso

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” — William Shakespeare

“Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.” — Warren Buffett

At its core, a metaphor is a figure of speech that is used to make a comparison between two unrelated things. As such, they are extremely useful for explaining abstract psychological concepts such as suffering, anxiety, acceptance.

1. First and second darts

Life is full of challenges, most of which we have no control over. This might sound disheartening, but realizing this is a source of strength. Why? Because it’s not the challenge itself, but our reaction to it that causes most of our problems, and this we can control.

2. Fighting your anxiety monster

A person struggling with anxiety will often try to fight back. But this only creates more anxiety. A great metaphor for this is a tug-of-war with an anxiety monster.

‘Drop the rope.’

Yes, the monster’s still there, but you’re no longer in a struggle with it. It’s the same for anxiety. When you stop struggling, you rob it of its power.

3. Digging yourself out of a hole

Many people resist change. They might genuinely want to change, especially if they’re struggling, but often persist in the very behaviour that caused their problems in the first place.

Take away message

Metaphors have the power to persuade the masses, motivate armies, and help writers to create beautiful prose. They can also help people to understand abstract concepts and avoid psychological traps that are difficult to see.

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