Skip to Navigation

We understand things by association. If you tell me about a new kind of fruit that I’ve never seen you’ll most likely describe it as being like something else I’m familiar with. You might say, “It’s like an orange…”, or “A kind of citrus fruit” (unless of course it was like an apple, or a tomato, or it tasted of frogs).

This doesn’t just apply to fruit and edible things, we describe people by invoking similarities to others (like a young Marlon Brando), or classes of others (politician, concert pianists).

But there’s a double association going on which can cause problems. When you conjure an image in your mind of an orange, or Marlon, and ask me to do the same, I’ll be seeing MY version of an orange or the actor. And, you’ve guessed it, with all MY associations with the thing being invoked.

Since, most of the time, we have similar perceptions of what things are, these superficial images are enough to get the meaning across. But it can melt down where my emotional associations are completely different from yours. What if, for example, my ex-partner looked like Marlon Brando, or I was once bitten by a concert pianist?

Next time you see an unusual fruit, if you think you’d like to talk about it later, take a picture.

 

What do you think? Share your thoughts...

Latest from the blog

Thermometers and Thermostats

Which one are you? A thermometer measures the ambient temperature of its milieu. It checks and reports. A thermostat on the other hand responds to its environment. It also checks, but then it makes little adjustments… it actually influences the environment. You might say that a thermometer is a rather passive receptor, and a thermostat […]

Continue reading

New SFBT book

At last it is finished. Solution Focused Therapy for the Helping Professions will be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers on 15th December. Do you want to work more effectively with your clients? You can pre-order now and start the new year with new enthusiasm.

Continue reading

We Are Natural Problem-Solvers, That’s the Problem

We are problem-solving creatures. We love a challenge and without them we don’t grow and mature fully.

It would be great if an under-used intellect could set its owner crosswords and Sudoku to keep itself busy, but it doesn’t.

What happens next?

Continue reading
FREE DOWNLOAD - Get it now.

How to be more Resilient

Get my super-helpful guide '9 Steps to Resilience' absolutely FREE, when you subscribe to my newsletter.

Understand the steps to resilience and you can develop the ability to cope with problems and setbacks with less stress and more confidence.
close-link
%d bloggers like this: