What got you here, won’t take you there.
- Albert Einstein
The secret to increasing influence? Probably more than one. But one good one to consider? Use analogies. In your stories. In demonstrations.
Lots of ways to use analogies.
Here is a great story that we’ll share to illustrate our point:
A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, without any words he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar. He then proceeded to fill it with small rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.
He then asked the class if the jar was full. They agreed that it was indeed full.
The Professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then again asked the class if the jar was full. They nodded in agreement.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand, of course, filled up all the remaining space in the jar.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.
“Now”, said the professor, “I want you to assume that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things — your family, your wife and marriage, your children, and your health — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that have priority in your life — like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else. The small stuff. Your lowest priority.”
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same can be said for your life.
If you spend all your time and energy on your lowest priorities, the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Now while you can take your wife out to dinner and a movie. There will always be time to go to work, clean and maintain the house, entertain your friends, and enjoy your hobbies.
Take care of the rocks first, your life’s foundation. The things that really matter. Set your top priorities and stick to them. The rest is just sand.
Was this an analogy that could influence you?
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple … well, that can influence!
Mike Schoultz is a digital marketing and customer service expert. With 48 years of business experience, he consults on and writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, Digital Spark Marketing, and LinkedIn.