Word pictures, anecdotes, and illustrations
The use of stories that form word pictures is one of the most powerful ways to enhance your ability to communicate your message. All effective communicators make use of personal experiences, word pictures, anecdotes, and analogies to get their point across.
Below is a few word pictures, analogies and illustrations that can enhance your speech. Search the internet using word picture or analogy or illustration + your topic and you should be able to find an appropriate resource for your speech.
Driving you car forward looking in the rear view mirror
A major hindrance to succeeding in your personal life or relationships is trying to go forward looking in the rear view mirror.
A major hindrance to succeeding in your personal life or relationships is trying to go forward looking in the rear view mirror. Try driving your car sometime like that. Get on a open stretch of road with nobody on it and try driving only looking in the rear view mirror. It’s kind of exciting and you can actually move forward. On a good straight away you can even pick up some speed, maybe 20 or 30 miles per/hour but as soon as you come to some obstacles, a turn in the road you are going to go off the road and crash. It is guaranteed to happen because you can not see what’s coming up in the rear view mirror. You can’t properly deal with the future obstacles from past events.
The deception is that the road continues to look straight through the mirror, the rocks and hills have gone by and you think that your on the way but the truth is your not, your heading for disaster, maybe a cliff and your cruising right along. That is life, and especially relationships. Nothing is straight forward, their will always be bumps and curves, rocks and hills, narrow bridges, steep cliffs and oncoming traffic that will require are attention. One of the problems is attention is all that most people give. I am saying that’s not enough. You will not be satisfied with just being aware of the obstacles. It requires more than our attention. It will require us to look forward as far as we can and choose a destination that will serve us well. It is called setting a goal.
The really deceptive part of trying to go forward looking through the rear view mirror is that we feel like we are getting somewhere. The truth is we are just not making significant enough progress to complete a journey. The bottom line is you will never get there but you will be on the road which can easily fool you that things are okay. All of those bumps, curves, hills, rocks and oncoming traffic are the insecurities, emotional wounds that have not been healed, fears, dysfunction’s of life skills and lack of commitment toward your decisions will take all of your skill and quite possibly the skills of others but the one definite thing that only you can do is decide what you want. Get clear on your goals and learn how to set them properly.
Moral of the Cracked Pots Story
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots.
A water bearer in India had two large pots; each hung on each end of a pole that he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots, full of water in his master’s house.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value for your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”
Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them. There is a lot of good out there; there is a lot of good in us!
Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life! Or as I like to think of it–if it hadn’t been for the crackpots in my life, it would have been pretty boring and not so interesting…thank you all my crackpot friends… Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape!
The black and white dogs that fight
The moral of this story is that whatever you feed yourself the most will win.
This is the story of this wise old man who live out in the country. Once a week he would come in to town with his two dogs. Both dogs were of equal size and the same breed, the only difference was one was white and one was black. He would challenge people to bet on which dog would win in a dog fight. He did this on a regular basis and to everyone’s surprise a different dog would win and the owner would always guess right. One day a young boy asked him “how do you know which dog is going to win”. The man replied, “its simple, for a week before the fight I feed only the one dog I want to win”
The moral of this story, is what ever you feed yourself the most will win. If you are developing a belief system about a particular subject, goal, philosophy or religion and feed yourself more of that belief it will become your belief but if feed yourself more of an opposing view it then will become your belief.
The story of the geese, illustrated by Tom Worsham.
When you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing that science has understood why they fly like that. Research has revealed that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird directly behind it.
By flying in this “V” formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if the bird was to fly on its own. (People who share a common direction and sense of community get where they are going more quickly and easier because they are traveling on another’s thrust)
When a bird falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to do it alone. It quickly gets back into formation and takes advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it. When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back into the “V” and another goose takes the point. The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up there speed. And finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gun fire and falls out, two other geese fall out of formation and follow it down and stay with it until is able to fly again or is dead, and then they launch out in their own formation to catch up with their group. Who ever thought of the little insult “you silly goose” didn’t really know much about geese.
A story of character and personal development
A little story of when you put the man together the world comes together.
A man had come home from an extra busy days work to meet his excited son wanting to hang out and do something together. The man looked around the house to find this picture of the world. The picture was of the globe on a sky back ground.
He brought it to his son and they talked about our world. They talked about many of the problems our world faces and pointed out the country they lived in. He said “How about we cut this picture into many pieces and you can put our world back together” the son thought that would be fun and though of himself as kind of a healer or a great King. The man cut up the picture and dumped them on the floor and said to his son, “Now put our world back together” thinking it would take him a long time and he sat back on the sofa to relax.
5 minutes later his son shows up and says all happy “hear it is”. The man kind of surprised asked him “How do you put the world together so quickly” The son replied “It was easy, on the back of the picture is a big man and when you put the man together the world comes together” Let us learn a lesson from the little boy, when we work on ourselves our world begins to take shape. When you build character, grow, personally develop you put the man together and then the world comes together.
The results summarized of “Cradle’s of Eminence”, a book that revealed a study of 415 great and famous people.
In 1962 Victor & Mildrid Goertzel published a book called “The Cradle’s of Eminence” it was a study of 415 great and famous people. They spent years attempting to understand what produced such greatness. They searched for a common thread that wound through all of the these outstanding people and guess what they found? The most outstanding fact, found in 392 out of the 415 which = 95% of these people had overcome great obstacles to become who they were. Overcoming obstacles, perseverance, determination, these qualities (If your not born with them) come from personal development!
An analogy of how our environment can condition us.
If you put a bunch of fleas in a jar and put a lid on it the fleas will jump and hit their head on the lid of the jar. They will continue to jump as fleas do and continue to hit their head until they get tired or get a real sore head and then they will stop hitting the lid. They will continue jumping though. After a while you can remove the lid and they won’t jump out because they have been conditioned to only jump so high.
The tallest creatures on Earth
Some facts about giant cedar trees on Vancouver Island. MacMillan Bloedell tree sanctuary, Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, B.C.
Coniferous trees are the earth’s oldest and tallest inhabitants, in most parts of the world a tree is tall at 30meters (100 ft), big trees in the tropical rain forests grow to 50meters (175 ft), in mature pacific rain forests trees average 60 meters (200 ft) and the giants may tower over 90 meters (300 ft). This is the largest tree in Cathedral Grove, it was already 300 years old when Columbus reached America in 1492 (over 800 years old), it has 26,000 board feet of lumber which can build two 2 story 4 bedroom houses.
It measure 76 meters (250 feet tall), it measures 3 meters (9.5 ft) through and 9 meters (30 ft) around. Both the largest and tallest trees in Canada are found on Vancouver Island, the Red Creek Fir (The largest tree) is the second largest Douglas Fir on earth, broken off at 73.5 meters (241 ft) in height, it measures 12.6 meters 41 feet around and is estimated at close to a millennium old. The worlds tallest Sitca Spruce grows in the Caramana Valley at 95 meters (312 feet), it is almost as tall as a 32 story building.
Niagara Syndrome by Anthony Robbins
Failing to make decisions.
Life is like a river for many people, they just jump in the river of life with out ever deciding where they want to end up, so they quickly get caught up in the current, current events, current challenges, current fears. And then they come to the forks in the rivers, they don’t consciously decide which way to go, they just go with the flow of the river (the flow of the majority instead of being directed by their own values and goals) and as a result the feel out of control but continue to drift down stream until one day the sound of the raging water wakes them up and they realize they are 5 feet from the falls and they are in a boat with no ores and then they say “Oh shoot”, but its to late. They are going to take a fall, it may be a financial set back or the break up of a relationship or maybe even a health problem, in almost all of the cases the fall could have been prevented by making better decisions up stream.
By Anthony Robbins
Dr. Viktor Frankl
He shares a true story of his experience in a concentration camp and how the loss of a man’s vision took his life.
Dr. Viktor Frankl, psychologist and author of “Man’s Search for Meaning” talked about a dramatic demonstration he had with a block warden in the concentration camp, the warden had confided in Victor one day saying, “I had a dream last night, a voice told me that I could wish for something and I should only say what I wanted to know and my questions would be answered” What do you think he asked for? He asked to know when the war would be over, he wanted to know when the camp would be liberated and when the sufferings would end! He had this dream in Feb 1945, he confided in Viktor at the beginning of March, Dr. Frankl had asked to what did the dream voice answer?
The warden answered March 30th! When this man told Viktor about this dream he was still full of hope and confidence that the dream voice would be right, but as the dream date drew near war news reached the camp that it would be highly unlikely that anything would change by the dream date, by March 29th the news had not changed and he started to become very ill and ran a fever, on March 30th , the day the prophecy was to be he became delirious and lost consciousness, on March 31rst he was dead. The loss of hope had dramatically effected this mans ability to fight, his bodies ability to fight off typhus and his body became victim to the disease.
An analogy of how Socrates illustrated burning desire
He illustrates burning desire to a young man wanting his wisdom.
Story of a young man who came to Socrates and asked him how he could gain wisdom. Socrates told the young man to come with him and they walked together into a near by lake. When the water had got to be about 4 feet deep, Socrates suddenly grabbed the young man and pushed his head under the water and held him there. The young man thought it was a joke at first and didn’t resist.
But as he was held under the water longer and longer, he became frantic and struggled desperately to get free but could not. He began to panic and try with all his might as his lungs burned to get air. Socrates then lifted him out of the water and said to him. When you desire wisdom with the same intensity that you had to breath then nothing will stop you from getting it.
The fisherman enjoying a low stress life
A nice little story of a business man who wanted this fisherman to grow his business so he could enjoy a life style he already had.
There once was a man who lived in a small village and he enjoyed a little fishing. Enough in fact to support his family, which only took about 3 or 4 days per/week. When his work was done then he would enjoy the afternoon with his family. A meal together, a siesta, and then play his guitar, sing songs, share laughter with his family, and he knew he would spend the remainder of the evening in the company of his loving wife.
It so happened that one day as he returned from his fishing venture and took his catch to the market place a business man took notice of his skilled fashion in which he successfully sold all his catch. The business man decided to address such talent with an offer of advise. Graciously the fisherman listened as the business man began complimenting and advising him. “You should start by getting a bigger boat which can hold more fish, then you can work six days a week or so and double if not triple your income” The amused fisherman asked “Then what”
“Then you could buy another boat, and another, and another until you had a fleet of boats and you could work around the clock” The fisherman said “Then what”
Then you could by a great building in the city, move your family there and continue to grow and expand so you never have to fish yourself, but rather work all day in your office and over see your massive corporation” “Then what” Then you can retire and move to a quite peaceful little village somewhere and do a little fishing, enjoy fine meals, laugh and sing and spend quality time with your family. Then the business man recognized where the man was, smiled and went away.
An analogy of a blue print
How a blue print expresses the need to have a plan.
Consider the difference. You just won a million dollars and you buy 2 building lots to build a couple of homes. You hire a architect to design 2 identical houses and he gives you the blue prints. All the materials are delivered to the sites and you hire a couple of carpenters. You tell them all about the house and even show them a picture of what its going to look like.
You give one carpenter a blue print and you give the other the picture and say go to it boys. The carpenter with out the blue print could probably build it but I guarantee you he will take 10 x’s as long, use more material and have a lot more difficult time instructing his crew on how to do what when. Stress and anxiety will be high and if any problems arise he will have a lot more difficult time with it. Do you have a blue print for your life?
Making committed decisions
Burn your ships, the story of Hernan Cortes.
A preacher had talked about this great journey that Cortes set out for and reaching this new world found great challenges and difficulties many of the crew wanted to sail back home when Cortes ordered that the ships be burned. There was no turning back. Do or Die attitude!
Routes of Hernan Cortes
The Spaniard Hernán Cortés led an expedition to Mexico in 1519, sailing from Cuba to land on the eastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula with a tiny fleet of 11 ships. From there he proceeded inland to Tenochtitlán, the capital city of the Aztec Empire. Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, initially welcomed Cortés, whom many thought was a god. Cortés soon imprisoned Montezuma, and by 1521 he had conquered the Aztecs. Finding a better harbor a little north of San Juan, the Spaniards moved there and established a town, La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz (now Veracruz). Cortés organized an independent government, and renouncing the authority of Velázquez, acknowledged only the supreme authority of the Spanish crown. In order to prevent those of his small force who opposed this movement from deserting him and carrying the news to Cuba, Cortés destroyed his fleet.
The road map
A couple of nice little goal setting analogies.
Imagine going to major city like L.A. or New York, lets say your even familiar with the city but you have never been to this particular place. You get a little prepared, call ahead and they gave you detailed directions and the address, you have got it all figured out in your head, your going to take this road then that one then that one, etc., etc., etc. I don’t need a map the typical man’s says. So you fly across the country, rent a car and start driving. You get there a little late and its getting dark, that changes the situation but that’s okay you’ve got it all figured out, then the clouds roll in and it starts to rain, visibility is getting poor and your probably getting a little more nervous. Then you run into a road block, “Oh no” the road is being repaired and you have to choose a different route and you don’t have a clue which way to go.
You can imagine, you would probably feel insecure not knowing which way to go. Anxiety builds from the hundreds of roads but you don’t know where they lead. Your definitely going to be late if you get there at all. Then you here this knock on you window and there I am smiling and I say would you like a map.
The map is the ideal analogy for goals. Say you were to travel from here to Calgary. That’s the goal and you had never been there before. As you start in the direction (Which you would not even know which direction to start in without knowing first where you are and then where your want to go) and begin driving it won’t be long before you come to a fork in the road (Just like life right, you start going in this direction and opportunities arise and you have to decide) you ether take the Hope/Princeton turn off or continue on the #1. Well with out a map you will end up guessing instead of looking at the map and saying, this is the route I want to take. That’s not to bad because you will still get there by going the Hope/Princeton it will just take 2 hr. longer but when you get to Kamloops if just keep going straight instead of taking the fork toward Salmon Arm you will be heading north and never reach your goal. Bottom line is you would never journey across the country with out a map why in the world would we journey through life without goals.
Creating the impossible
The development of the V-8 engine, by Henry Ford.
The impossible Ford V-8 motor, or at least that’s what the engineers thought when Henry Ford decided to produce the impossible V-8 engine. He decided he wanted all 8 cylinders cast in one block. He instructed his engineers to make a design for this idea. The idea was placed on paper but all the engineers agreed that this was simply impossible to cast an 8 cylinder engine in one piece. Henry Ford said “Produce it anyway”, the engineers said Mr. Ford its impossible! Ford said go ahead and stay on the job until you succeed no matter how much time is required. The engineers went ahead or be fired. 6 months went by and nothing happened. Another 6 months past and still nothing happened. The engineers tried every conceivable plan to carry out the orders but the thing seemed out of the question, impossible! At the end of the year Ford checked with the engineers and again they had informed him they had found know way to carry out his orders. Keep trying said Ford! I want it and I will have it! So back to the drawing board they went and sure enough like magic they found the secret to the V-8 engine and once again the what was once thought was impossible was now achieved.
Quote: What ever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve. Napoleon Hill
An analogy for understanding the process of success or healing.
The need for braces, its just plane genetic defects. Your jaw structure is so big and your teeth are bigger so it forces them in different directions. There is overlap and what is called crowding. Now you can get all upset that its not the way its suppose to be or you can do something about it and go see someone who is an expert in the field, a dentist who has been trained and has the proper equipment and he will x-ray what you can’t see, he will cut out and sacrifice some of the other teeth so there is room, eliminating the crowding. Then he will put the braces in and tighten the screws and you will keep them on for a year or two. You will have to put up with the humility of wearing them because food will get stuck to them, they will be uncomfortable and sometimes painful and after a while you will get used to it and won’t even notice. And even though you will not be able to notice the daily changes after a couple of years the dentist will remove the braces and you will have beauty and function where you had neither before. Its a process that in the moment you can not notice the difference but the compounded effect of doing the thing, to keep keeping on will prove itself before to long. The key is to do the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable and continue in the process and you will succeed.
Power of belief systems
Roger Banister breaking the 4 minute mile.
In 1954 a young medical student did what the experts said was impossible, run the mile in less than 4 minutes. Doctors said that it was physically impossible for the human body to operate at those kind of running speeds. Roger Bannister had a dream and belief, he understood the principle of daily improvement and focused his mind on breaking that barrier even though nobody in the history of man kind had done it before. Roger Bannister was willing to pay the price of personal growth and broke this mental barrier. Since he broke this record, removed the barrier of impossible now every world class runner runs the mile in less than 4 minutes. Why? Because one man didn’t allow limiting beliefs hold him back from great things.
A short story disguised until the end until you learn of a familiar stranger.
A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later. As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example.
Fran, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play ‘big brother’ and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors–Mom taught me to love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But, the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening. If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all. He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so lifelike that I would often laugh or cry. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.
My brother and I were deeply impressed with John Wayne in particular. The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up, while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room, read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But, this stranger never felt obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house, not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home, not even for cooking. But this stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to the other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often.
He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man-woman relationship were influenced by the stranger. As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More then 30 years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But, if you were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would still see him sitting over in the corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and look at his pictures. His name? We always just called him T.V.
Finding meaning in difficult circumstances
A true story found in one of Viktor Frankl’s books about a woman who attempted suicide until she found the value of her life.
Story of an actual situation that two doctors faced with a women who tried to commit suicide. A mother of a boy who died at the age of eleven was admitted to a hospital after a suicide attempt, the doctor had asked her to tell her story, at the death of the 11 year old boy this mother was left alone with an older son who was crippled and suffering from the effects of infantile paralysis. The mother rebelled against her fate and tried to commit suicide along with her son who prevented her from doing so, he liked living!
At this point the doctor asked another women to participate in and improvise, he asked her to think of herself being 80 years old and on her death bed and to look back on her life as if she was childless but a life full of financial success and social prestige, the doctor asked her to imagine what she would feel in this citation. What would you think of it? What will you say to yourself? Hear is what she actually said , “Oh I married a millionaire, I had an easy life full of wealth, and I lived it up! I flirted with men and teased them, but now I am eighty and I have no children, looking back as an old woman I cannot see what it was all for, my life was actually a failure.
Then he asked the woman of the crippled son to imagine herself similarly look back over her life? Hear what she actually said ” I wished to have children and that wish was granted, one boy died and the other, the crippled one would have been in an institution if I had not taken over his care, though he is crippled and helpless he is after all my boy, and so I have made a fuller life possible for him, I have made a better human being out of my son. At that moment there was an outburst of tears, crying she continued: As for myself I can look back and say my life was full of meaning, and I have tried hard to fulfill it, I have done my best and my life was no failure.
The off-season hill
Walter Payton was abducted to the hall of fame for going the extra mile.
Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears was known for this off season hill. He would run up that steep hill no matter how hot and humid it was or how muddy it got. He charged up that hill over and over. He was challenged by fellow team mates and even other players from in the league but after a short period they would quit from exhaustion. He was obsessed with conquering that hill and urged everyone to keep on till they dropped and then he would go a few more times and when he felt that he to had had enough then he would go one more time. He played that way in football season as well. He fought for every yard and on his way down he would put that ball in front of him gaining every inch. Walter Payton was inducted to the hall of fame for going the extra mile.