Once Upon a Metaphor – where inspiration meets imagination

The “Self-Help” or “Motivational” genre of literature has evolved quite some since its early days and is now a prominent feature of most book stores. I couldn’t count on both hands the number of titles mentioning “happiness” or “well being” and could almost fill a shopping basket with those alluding to “financial growth” or “improved relationships”. Yes, yes, we are searching bunch; searching for a better life, a better job, a better relationship and hoping to find the answers within a book.

I find however, that instructive books of the ‘how to get happy’ variety are very rarely of any great use to me. They more often than not state the obvious (which, granted, we sometimes all to need hear) and do so in the step-by-step fashion that we’ve grown too accustomed to and thereby also immune to. In short, this brand of literature has had very little impact on my life. (Though, I must say, it cannot be completely discounted for it has impacted the lives of others and I have probably just been reading the wrong books.) There is however, a class of motivational literature that has definitely played a role in the evolution of my perspective, ideas and values. The metaphorical story kind.

Stories are powerful. Stories are playful. Stories and provoking. Stories of loss make me contemplate what I have. Stories of love make me think of the people I hold close. Stories of betrayal make me think of my priorities, of my choices and of my values. Stories of hardship make me appreciate my comforts and inspire me to overcome my obstacles. Stories of success teach me about what works and what doesn’t. Stories of friendship remind me of its importance. Stories of magic make me believe in the impossible. Stories are every sort of wonderful and within them are often hidden golden nuggets of wisdom, instruction and inspiration.

The very best of the inspirational story shelf, in my opinion:

The Alchemist Paulo Coelho

Life of Pi Yann Martel

The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom

Who Moved My Cheese Spence Johnson

Why is God Laughing Deepak Chopra

The Richest Man in Babylon George S. Clason

While on the surface, these books may just seem like stories you’d find in the fiction section and read for a bit of light entertainment, they are metaphors for life, brimming with inspiration, philosophy, instruction and thought-provocation. If they aren’t on either your ‘Books I’ve Read’ list or ‘Books I Plan to Read’ list, then you should you really a point of putting them there because they will inspire you, open your mind and shift your perspective. And if they don’t (which they will) then they will at least entertain you!

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10 thoughts on “Once Upon a Metaphor – where inspiration meets imagination

  1. This is why I love blogs: you never know what kind of gems you’ll discover.

    I’ve read the Alchemist (great read), but The Life of Pi is one that I always walked past in my local Borders (R.I.P.)

    Thanks for the recommendations!

    • I laughed out loud at the R.I.P., mainly because that’s exactly how I feel! I miss Borders. And as for ‘Life of Pi’, it’s had mixed reviews but I personally adored it. Thank you for commenting!

  2. I completely agree with you. All of the books have a great message for life, especially Life of Pi, which is my favorite book out of all of them. Nice post, and I have just decided to read Who Moved My Cheese!

  3. I loooved Life of Pi. I read it while stranded in a tiny California town when my car broke down during a road trip last summer. For four days, my pals and I camped out in a field outside town while waiting for a replacement car part. It was a huge bummer to be stuck there, but as I was reading I kept thinking, “this isn’t so bad… I’m really lucky to be stuck camping in a shady, grassy place with access to bathrooms rather than adrift in a lifeboat with a tiger.” It was a very good book to be reading at the time — it made my situation seem so much better!

    • That’s such a good story. And it sounds like the perfect time to read a book like ‘Life of Pi’. It’ll be one of those experiences (the camping and the book combined) that’ll stay with you and keep teaching you for a while to come. Thank you for sharing!

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