StrategyOne polled Americans (n=1,000 telephone survey) October 9-12, 2009 with the following question:
“People often use metaphors to describe their life… Which ONE of the following do you think best describes your life?”
A Journey: 51%
A Battle: 11%
The Seasons: 10%
A Novel: 8%
A Race: 6%
A Live Performance, Like a Play: 5%
A Carousel: 4%
The responses above were provided to participants and are well-known life metaphors from Western culture. For example, life as a journey is from Homer’s Odyssey (and the Epic of Gilgamesh should also be credited as well). Life as a battle is Homer’s Iliad. Life as the seasons is from Ecclesiastes and ascribed to King Solomon. Life as a race is from St. Paul. And life as a performance or play is from The Bard – Shakespeare.
The interesting thing about the data in this instance is that (a) journey is the dominant metaphor for life among Americans and (b) there are minimal differences by age, gender and region. The only real difference is by income where those making less than $35,000 are three times as likely to describe their lives as a battle (20% vs. 6% average for the other income groups).