TED Conversations

Stuart Woods


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If you could describe yourself with an object, what would you be?

Sometimes our intuitive self will name the object before we know why.

The benefit of using objects as metaphors for personal exploration is a well regarded coaching model. It can often take us somewhere extraordinary in terms of understanding ourselves and how we relate to the world. The design of objects (natural or manufactured) have numerous factors which might influence our choice: shape, size, colour, form, texture, function. All can unlock a fascinating journey though self-discovery if we pursue some or all of these formal elements and our reasoning behind them.

Do you have an example of where this metaphor coaching has really worked to help you achieve a goal?


Closing Statement from Stuart Woods

Thanks for everyone's interesting answers. I wonder how others regarded the choices. When reading them I was drawn to asking further questions about the detail of the object and the answers equally as fascinating as the original object. Many inanimate objects were named, many small but which eluded to a certain quality of symbolism. There is something deeply satisfying when small things stand for big things. Our readiness to regard ourselves in symbolism reveals much about how we view ourselves too and with what level of seriousness or levity. Distilling what we believe we stand for into one thing is incredibly telling and I very much appreciate the openness with which people engaged in the question. I respect those who did not feel the need to explain their choice but hope that in adding to this conversation you did reflect (on some level) on what you choice might mean for you. I believe that awareness is key to efficacy and the more we challenge our assumptions and assertions about what we stand for, the more we can be useful in what we do.

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    May 2 2012: A computer, because it has things you understand at once, and things you don't find out about until you really get up close and personal!

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