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People Are Like Coins


During my training as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner, I was asked with my peers to think of some metaphors to share. Metaphors are stories – imagined or real – that carry implicit meaning and may carry several embedded messages. They are powerful in transforming how people think. Metaphors provoke a specific emotion and may be interpreted in different ways depending on what’s going on in the listener’s life at the time. Milton Erikson, a pioneer in hypnosis, made extensive use of metaphors with his clients and the results were always amazing. That is because metaphors work at both the conscious and the unconscious levels. Consciously, one would come up with a somewhat clear conclusion. The unconscious mind, on the other hand, loves to work out symbols. There’s new meaning derived inadvertently; and this creates a new behavioral change driver.

  I pondered about the message I wanted to instill for that specific exercise. Then, I thought that I might as well relay my life philosophy about the essence of human nature. That’s a perspective many may disagree with, but that’s the purpose of metaphors after all: to make a shift in thinking. You see, I always thought that people are like monetary coins. They are produced in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Coins always have two faces and carry different themes, pictures, and designs. When they are first put into circulation, they are marvelously shiny and new. Some coins rotate within confined territories; others travel long distances. And still others remain locked behind closed doors. Coins belong to one country or another. They all have worth and that can be relevant to those who hold them. They are there to serve or be used in varying degrees. With time, many eventually become really dirty, tainted, lose their shine, or merely damaged. The writings or design on some coins may slightly fade. It all depends on how these coins spent their life time. It all depends on whether they are in the right hands or not.

 That’s all too common knowledge you might think, so what’s new? The most interesting aspect about coins, I find, is their true core. The idea dawned on me some time ago when I was handed a rusted coin. I could barely make sense of the writing or design on it. Curious as always, I wanted to discover what’s behind the rust. What signs does that coin carry? To find out, I thought I might as well polish it, so I did. It was challenging to unleash what’s behind the accumulated corrosion. It took me a lot of time and effort. I knew that behind the rust, I’ll find an attractive design. I knew if I worked hard enough, I could make it shine again. And I did restore that shine; and I did reach to its spectacular core. There it was: the fundamental nature of that coin can be restored if we just remove the surface rust. Coins are beautiful at heart.

 We can do a lot to remedy the mishandlings of coins in circulation. Some are easier than others. It would be really exigent to restore damaged, dented, or faded coins. These require more drastic interventions and more people to help out, but it certainly is doable to repair any mishap. Now, I am in the coin-polishing business, but I use all sorts of techniques and skills to refine my practice. So go on….. Give me more coins to handle. Let me restore their shine……

 P.S. Let your mind wonder some more on this one (there are many implicit messages there)…..

 

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