Change and Operating Metaphors 

Working With People and How they View the World 


Throughout history metaphors and stories have played a part in how we learn, interpret, and navigate our way through life. These metaphors are concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of the intellect. They also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, what we experience, and what we do every day is very much a matter of our personal operating metaphor.

These operating metaphors help make sense of our life. However, our everyday metaphoric expressions build up to form unconscious patterns that create and organize the meaning of our lives. They become filters through which we make sense of our world. Our Operating Metaphor(s) determine the content of our lives: what we focus on, what the world means to us. Consequently, they inform our beliefs, actions, and lifestyle.


1. Metaphors and the Identity Matrix

2. Memory and Themes

3. Semantic and Episodic Memory


4. 10 Common Themes

5. Mantras and Maxims


6. Impacts of Operating Metaphors

7. Using Metaphors and their Model of the world

8. Organizations have them as well

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