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Metaphors for NLP & Teaching

I love stories and occasionally come across or write little metaphors and stories that have proved useful (or at least entertaining) giving a new perspective on an issue. Was it Gregory Bateson who said that everything is a metaphor for everything else? Or is that another story?Just stepping out of the problem space and using anything that you perceive as a metaphor for your problem can provide a new perspective that allows you to see it in a new way. And NLP is all about new perspectives. This is a growing collection of metaphors for use in NLP, training, and teaching. Have fun and keep sharing those stories! You can also share a metaphor. If you're not sure if your story is already in the collection, you can email it to me using the Contact Link at the top of this page.

Thanks,
Brian Cullen


1. Index
2. The General
3. Balls and Cats
4. Blind Men and an Elephant
5. Plant
6. Horse
7. Caps
8. The Tree in the Road
9. Overflowing Cup
10. Cleaning Lady
11. Pickup in the Rain
12. The Obstacle in Our Path
13. Giving Blood
14. Learning to Stand Up
15. Computers Talking
16. Thinking outside the box
17. Exam Questions
18. Two Wolves Within
19. The Mustard Seed
20. You Won't See Another Sunset
21. The Calf
22. The Carpenter
23. The Blue Butterfly
24. Choosing the Emperor
25. Rich and Poor
26. Treasure
27. The Necklace
28. Writing Teacher
29. The Four Minute Mile
30. Half of What I Say is False
31. The Little Boy
32. The Hospital Room
33. How Much do You Make an Hour?
34. Sir Lancelot and The Essential Question
35. Mountain Climbing
36. changing behaviour
37. How realistic is your goal
38. The archer
39. The Fisherman and the Businessman
40. The Cinderella Communication Complex
41. Krishna
42. Starfish
43. The Rose
44. Alice and the Queen
45. The story of the little hummingbird!
46. The Egg
47. The Key
48. Good or Bad?
49. Taming an Elephant
50. That's Right
51. The Drum
52. The Axe
53. The Treasure Chest
54. Knowledge
55. Raining
56. Certificate
57. Thomas Edison
58. The Peaceful Country
59. The Lunar Effect
60. 5 Balls
61. The Farmer
62. The Farmer
63. The Priest and the Thief
64. Centipede
65. The Eagle
66. The Edge
67. The Bully
68. The Plane Crash
69. Tug of War with a Monster
70. The Headache
71. Two Monks
72. Buddha and the Heckler
73. Y2K
74. The Moon and Me
75. The Mirror and the Lake
76. Iceskating
77. Harvard Students
78. The Beggar and the Judge
79. Words of wisdom from the Hodja
80. Educating the Donkey
81. The Orange
82. Learning From the Bands
83. The Bear
84. The Meaning of Success
85. The T-Shirt Boy
86. ZX81 Feedback
87. Lottery
88. The Optometrist
89. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
90. “How are the children?”
91. The boy who banged a drum
92. True story
93. Always Be a Deaf Frog
94. Attitude is Everything
95. The Giving Tree
96. Software
97. The Cracked Pot
98. The Power of Listening
99. The Car Dealer
100. The Unbeliever
101. The Mousetrap
102. The Mule
103. The Parable of the Porpoise
104. Bleeding Badly
105. The Jigsaw
106. Easter Island
107. Life Is Like a Cup of Coffee
108. A turn of the screw
109. Two frogs in the milk
110. Muddy Water
111. Rafting
112. Virtually no competition
113. The Wave
114. The Car Breakdown
115. The Eagle's Egg
116. The carrot, the egg, and the coffee bean
117. The Sense of a Goose
118. The Seeker of Truth
119. A Meeting of Minds
120. Heaven and Hell
121. Dandelions
122. The Two Drops of Oil
123. Nothing is written
124. Listening … at Christmas and always
125. The Lake
126. The Tower of Babel
127. The Traveller
128. Fish
129. The Desert
130. Gandhi and the Boy
131. The Magus
132. Swimming to Japan
133. The Watermelon
134. The Sailor and the Old man
135. The Beast
136. Diving Board
137. Is it full?
138. Learning to Call Something from Nothing
139. Noisy on the Train
140. The Man Who Thought He Was Dead
141. Educational Psychologist
142. The Carpet
143. The Banker
144. You saved my life
145. The Japanese Soldier
146. The Repairman
147. The Map
148. Good Strong Blood
149. Rose
150. Icecream
151. Internal Garden
152. Death Valley
153. The Song
154. School is Boring
155. Beth Gellert
156. Buddha and the Gift
157. Teaching
158. The Bear and the Factory
159. The Two Frogs
160. The Two Seeds
161. The Cocoon and the Butterfly
162. The Arrow
163. How Heavy is a Glass of Water?
164. The Christmas Ham
165. The Princess and the Toad
166. Painting a Car
167. Crossing a River
168. Blame It On the Watermelon
169. Dirty Laundry
170. Hoe-ing a field of potatoes
171. Modelling
172. Pygmalion
173. The African Violet Queen
174. Us Cripples
175. Walking Through Trees
176. Eating Toast
177. You are Here
178. Rapport with a Baby
179. Jesus Christ
180. Going into Orbit
181. Autistic Girl
182. Word Salad
183. Monsters in the Bedroom
184. Biggest Fanny
185. Whistle Berries
186. Spinach
187. Sucking Your Thumb
188. Overweight girl And Little Sister
189. Overprotective
190. Looking at a Picture
191. Patterns of Behaviour
192. Joe
193. Comic Books
194. Improving Children's Memory

1 thought on “Metaphors for NLP & Teaching

  1. Sarah

    Hello Dr. Cullen,

    What a great list of metaphors! Thank you for creating this great resource for people to use freely. I was wondering if there would be any way to have each metaphor page set up with a link that says "printable version", or something similar, allowing for easy printing of a particular metaphor?

    Thanks again for setting this up. It is a really useful resource not only for me, but for my students as well.

    All the best to you,

    SJ Marubay
    Nagoya

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