Thinking In Pictures

You all have heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Our brain is hardwired to think, dream and remember in pictures. It’s more visual. That’s why it’s so easy to recall an image than it is to remember words and phrases. If you want to remember something, assign a picture to it. That’s why metaphors are so useful and important.

Life around us is full of images and metaphors that serve as important lessons. Let me share a few that represent ideas and actions you can take that will help you overcome challenges, be your best and stand out when it matters most. The overarching key is that nothing happens in an instant and out of nowhere. It takes time, effort, persistence, energy and a willingness to do whatever it takes to overcome barriers.

As the great soccer player Lionel Messi once said, “It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.”

With that said, here are fifteen images, life lessons and what it means for you. Please share your own favorites in the comment section below.


Lay one brick at a time.  You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say that you are going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.  You don’t start there.  You say that I am going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day and soon you have a wall.


Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.  You will always return to the place where you feel safe, appreciated and loved and have the fondest memories.  Understand where your home is and just like Thanksgiving or the holiday season, go back there to remember what’s important, recharge your batteries, enjoy the people that matter most and taste the deliciousness of life.

Refurbishment House

Changing something, particularly a habit, is difficult and it takes time.  Just life if you want to rehab a house or a room.  You have to envision it, plan it and believe it’s going to be beautiful when it’s done.  All rehabs and change are hard at first and you have to deconstruct what is there.  Then you deal with the a lot of dust, messiness and doubt that it will look good when you are done.  But you keep believing, keep working and when you are done, it’s better than it was before and it’s gorgeous in the end.


An arrow can only move forward with perfect aim towards its target by pulling it backward.  If life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. To move in the direction you want to go, set your sights on a very specific target, take dead aim, pull yourself back slowly, re-aim and then let yourself fly in the direction of your goal.


This is our favorite and us therefore the inspiration, symbol and logo of the Standout Movement.  It represents so many ideas.  A sunrise doesn’t care if we watch it or not.  It will rise after the darkness, always be beautiful, shine light on others and provide warmth so that other things can exist and thrive.  Whether we bother to look at it or not. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise, every day.


Water cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence.  The universe is like water.  Things and life are like water, it has a flow to it, going around things in its way and shaping things as it does.


Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, delete the shot and take another.  Photos are a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.  It’s the pause button of life.


If an egg is broken by outside forces, life ends.  If broken by inside forces, life begins.  Great things always begin from the inside


Don’t quack like a duck and flock together with the pigeons.  Spread your wings, have a clear vision, soar to new heights and swoop down on opportunities.  When a storm does come, all other birds seek shelter.  The eagle alone, uses the negative energy of the storm and avoids it by flying high above.


Life is like riding a bike, to keep your balance you must keep moving forward.  It does not matter how slow you go and it’s ok to coast every once in a while, but you must keep pedaling when it matters most and don’t stop until you reach your destination.


When you put koi into a fish bowl, it will only grow up to three inches.  When the same fish is placed in a pond or a larger tank, it will grow to about nine inches long.  We spend all our time swimming around within the unseen walls of our life always looking out on what else is out there.  But your happiness and vision only become clear when you look inside, appreciate where you are and what you have, and live in the beauty that surrounds you.


Similar to an egg, a boat doesn’t sink because of the water around it.  A boat sinks because of the water that gets into it.  Keep your boat dry and when water does get it, bail it out, clean your boat off and continue to sail on.

Power Plant

You aren’t given energy, joy or power.  Like a power plant, you have to create it.  Take raw resources, thoughts and ideas and then generate your own energy, joy or power.  Your output is only as good as the input used to generate it.

Space Shuttle

The space shuttle faces tremendous difficulties, stress and the weight of gravity (known as escape velocity).  It takes as much energy, power and effort in the first few moments of takeoff than it takes circling the earth.  But once it breaks through the atmosphere and enters orbit, it requires less effort and the views are worth the struggle it took to get there.


There are a lot of lessons here.  The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.  Life’s low tides allow time to appreciate the beauty hidden beneath the surface.  We have three choices in life.  You can swim against the tide and get exhausted or you can tread water and let the tide take you away.  Instead, swim with the tide and let it take you where you want to go.  But if you do decide to swim against the tide long enough, you will develop muscles that you didn’t even know you had.

To close this article, I’ll leave you with one more about the tide and hope that it leaves you with a laugh… when the tide does go out, you will discover who’s been swimming naked.

Enjoy your day and hopefully you find one idea here that’s worth remembering.

Rise. Shine. Impact… like the sun.