The working title for this post was “Bring Barney to Work” but then I realized that Barney is a dinosaur, not a dragon. I think.
Kenneth Burke defined human beings as “symbol using/misusing animals.” For even as we love clarity, we love and live symbols even more.
People used symbols to share meaning long before they knew how to read and write. Probably our love of symbols and our desire to enhance our individuality is what’s driving the tattoo industry. And that must be a thriving business, judging from the “standing room only” crowd just spotted at a local tattoo salon.
Symbols not only make meaning, they can make tons of money. Being a successful corporation today is virtually synonymous with leveraging symbols through branding and advertising. If you doubt the monetary value of Nike’s swoosh, try borrowing that trademark to make money yourself and see how quickly you get sued! 🙂
My mother assigned a symbol as a personal ensign to each of her four children when they were quite young: a swan, a bear, a lion, and a butterfly. We were reminded from time to time of the meanings of each symbol, and there were always several of these visual reminders in our rooms. Each of us still feels a strong attachment to our animal-symbol; it’s a reminder of our unchanging essence from childhood.
You can use symbols to enrich your workspace, to make it more you and more representative of your values. It’s potentially inspiring.
Take a minute and think what to you want qualities to you want to foster in your workspace (or your home). These could include abundance, kindness, creativity, balance, friendship, completion, self-care/appreciation among others.
Decide on two or three values with which you want to identify. You can add more later.
Now you have a great excuse to take a trip to a dollar store or Wal-Mart or some similar place, to shop for symbols to place as reminders in your own workspace.
Here are some symbolic suggestions. Feel free to assign your own meaning to different symbols.
Heart: for love, friendship.
Dragon: Chinese symbol for creativity, according to Julian Cameron.
Smiley face: happiness, self-acceptance.
Hammer: commitment to completion.
Unicorn: magic or creativity.
Bee: Mary Kay Ash used this animal to represent doing the impossible.
Swan: grace under pressure, elegance while working.
The possibilities are infinite, Mixonian would love to know which symbols speak to you.