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Metaphors for NLP & Teaching

3. Balls and Cats

It’s all about cause and effect, isn’t it? Are you in charge of events or are events in charge of you? The co-founder of NLP, John Grinder, said that if you kick a ball you can pretty much predict what’s going to happen based on the laws of physics.

But what happens if you try to kick a cat? The cat might possibly get kicked the first time, but in future it is as just as likely to jump out of your way, dig its nails into your leg, or just avoid you–that cat is flexible enough to learn and to respond in different ways.

In NLP, we say that a person is at-cause or at-effect. If you are at-effect, you believe that others are responsible for your success and happiness. If you are at-cause, you take responsibility for your own actions and results–you can put traumas or phobias firmly into your past, proactively improve your communication and relationships, and carry out realistic personal and professional goals to build the type of life that you want for yourself. Or as the other co-founder of NLP, Richard Bandler wrote in a recent book, you “get over it … get through it … and get to it.”

The world is facing many societal and economic challenges and things could easily get much worse before they get better, meaning that a lot of people may get kicked by events that are outside their control. Perhaps the important question is whether you play the role of a ball or of a cat. You will never be able to control external events, but you can learn to take control of your own thinking and communication to achieve the best results in your personal and working life.

Main Uses: : Being 'At Cause'
Also Useful For:
Submitted By: Brian Cullen
Source: Adapted and extended from a quote by John Grinder

Index of Metaphors

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

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