Articles Tagged ‘Metaphor’

The Power of a Metaphor

Friday, April 1st, 2011


I recently completed the book “Switch” by the Heath brothers (Chip and Dan). The writing and concepts are good – not great.

However, this book has a quality that makes it a must read. Chip and Dan do an amazing job of weaving their entire book around a metaphor that I am absolutely certain will help you change your behavior.

They argue that in everyone of us there is a “rider” and an “elephant”. The rider is our logical brain that helps us to reason through issues and challenges. The elephant is our emotions. Their extremely simple and brilliant point is that logic is interesting but emotion wins every time.

For example, they tell a story in the book about a hospital having to make some fundamental procedural changes that would reduce the instances where patients are given the wrong medications. The logic was clear and simple to implement. However the hospital knew that getting busy doctors and nurses to change behaviors was difficult.

So, they focused on the elephant (emotions). They asked a mother to speak to the hospital about losing her young daughter because she was given the wrong medication. Guess what happened? That’s right – they changed their behavior.

The next time you want to change the behavior of yourself or someone else, look past the logic and consider the emotional impact of the change. Remember, the elephant is going to go wherever it wants!

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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