What’s Metaphor – And How Can It Help You Make More Money?

What's Metaphor

What’s Metaphor got to do with making money? Well, if you can tell a good story you can capture people’s attention. And attention is the first word in the AIDA formula.

The AIDA formula is the most popular – and probably the oldest – of all writing formulas. And metaphor goes with Dr. Erickson like peas in a pod.

Because Dr. Milton Erickson wasn’t just a legendary Psychiatric Medical Doctor who was the main inspiration in creating NLP. He was also a master at creating life-altering therapeutic metaphors.

So what’s metaphor?

Well, a metaphor is often thought of as a figure of speech. You may take a word or phrase and dress it up to create a more visual, or demonstrative expression.

For example, if you write the statement, “I’m depressed”, it’s a rather ho-hum statement. It lacks any kick. To give it more sizzle I would say, “I’ve fallen through a trapdoor of depression.” See the difference?

Real Metaphor Magic Is Not Just Being Creative With Words

But what’s metaphor in Dr. Erickson’s hands? Ahh, that’s something completely different.  A metaphor in Dr. Erickson’s hands became a master’s tool for creating change, super great for working with children, and just as effective with adults too. Think relationships, sales, leadership and coaching.

Dr. Erickson’s metaphors have always fascinated me. I especially enjoy how he placed metaphors within metaphors so that the meaning can be different depending on who’s reading it.

But I also notice that most people who write about Dr. Erickson totally lacked understanding of his process. They thought he was just telling an interesting story but was unaware of the ingredients within the story that effected such change.

Observe – What’s Metaphor

My favorite Dr. Erickson story is when he was a young student, and he visited a boiler factory as part of his university studies. Now, remember this would have been around 1920 when they didn’t know what they know today – like you should wear ear plugs.

It was so noisy in the boiler factory. So noisy he could not make out what anyone was saying, even when they were shouting while standing directly in front of him.
All the workers seemed to be able to carry on a conversation easily as if there were silence … no noise at all!

Erickson was greatly puzzled by this. How could it be that all these workers could communicate with each other so easily, and yet he could not hear himself think?

Milton managed to take the factory manager aside for a moment and ask him, “Can I spend the night in your factory to observe the workers, I’ll stay out of the way and be gone in the morning?”

Well, the manager didn’t know what to make of this young student wanting to spend the night in a noisy factory but agreed to let him stay. Making young Milton promise to be gone before the morning shift arrived. Milton agreed.

Shutting Off Distractions?

Returning later with a blanket and pillow, Milton was ready to spend the night in what could be the noisiest place on earth.

Milton found a place to lie his blanket and pillow and readied to spend the night, if not with sleep, at least with some comfort.

The factory workers were quite aware of this silly young student observing them, talking and laughing amongst themselves thinking the young lad a few bricks short of a full load.

And young Erickson, who could not hear a word they were saying, simply observed the normality of their communication.


Then, suddenly, Milton sat straight up. He wasn’t sure how it happened, but he had fallen asleep, and the factory manager was standing over him saying it was time to go.

Milton apologized to the manager for falling asleep to which the manager answered, quite clearly to Milton; it seems your time here was ill spent.

It was at that moment that young Erickson realized he could hear the factory manager, and understand everything he had said … 

What About Money Making Metaphor?

I love that story for many reasons. The most important one is because of what I discovered about how and why Dr. Milton Erickson told that story. And I love teaching it to others who want to know.

So let me ask you, how much would you benefit knowing the secret ingredient behind Dr. Milton Erickson’s metaphors? The secret with which you can create effective and lasting change in people – Just by telling them stories?

If you think you could benefit from knowing how to create powerful metaphors, then you should do your best to learn everything about them.

Because metaphor is a powerful technique to have, not just for therapeutic work and coaching, but also for business, sales, and leadership.

For instance, if you find that others don’t always understand:

  • What your product will do for them
  • How your service can give them a better life
  • How they can be happier

Then ask yourself what metaphors you could use to help them understand better and give it a try.



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Bob Clarke

Hi I’m Bob Clarke, writer of most of these blog posts. I’m also the Co-Creator, with my wife Ronda, of the Most Comprehensive NLP Training and Coaching Program Online. Our purpose is to bring NLP to you, saving you time, travel and money.