What Are the Different Metaphors for Life?

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  • Written By: Dee Jones
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 February 2020
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A metaphor is a figure of speech in which something tangible is used to represent, describe, or explain something that is intangible. Through the ages, countless writers, philosophers, and thinkers have come up with an untold number of metaphors for life. Some have compared life to a race in which the focus is on winning, succeeding, and beating everyone else to the finish line. Others see life as a classroom, with every day being filled with new opportunities to learn and grow. One of the most popular metaphors for life is that it is a journey, filled with new places, people, sights. and adventures.

In a society that has become somewhat success- and accomplishment-driven, one of the most popular metaphors for life is that it is a race. For many people, life is a constant competition, where winning, coming out on top, and beating everyone else to the finish line is the ultimate goal. To these people, it can seem like life is all about trying to catch up to those who are ahead, or trying to stay ahead of the rest of the pack. Many consider viewing life as a race to be a somewhat cynical and unrewarding point of view, and one reserved for an individual who is so focused on succeeding and getting ahead that he doesn’t take the time to truly enjoy all that life has to offer.


Some might consider one of the most positive and fulfilling metaphors for life to be comparing it to a classroom. Just as in a classroom, life is filled with opportunities to learn and grow. The more a person learns, the more successful he is likely to be. Also, students who enjoy learning and experiencing new things usually find more success and enjoyment in the classroom than those who don’t. And many find the same to be true of life, in which a person can find happiness and contentment by expanding his base of knowledge, and seeing adversities as opportunities to learn and grow.

Perhaps one of the most commonly used metaphors for life is that it is a journey. From the moment a person is born, life is a series of new experiences and adventures, much like a trip to a new place would be. And, during life’s journey, he will meet new people, try new things, see new sights, and have new experiences.


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