What are some good metaphors or similes that reveal intelligence, determination, motivation, strength, perfection or persistence?

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I have compiled a list of similes and metaphors that could generally fall into one of these topics:

O, speak again, bright angel, for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,
As is a wingèd messenger of heaven. (Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.29–31)

In these lines, Romeo is gushing over Juliet's perfection, comparing her to a messenger straight from heaven.

I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up. (The Fault in Our Stars)

Augustus refuses to be anything less than hopeful about his cancer diagnosis.

I'm like a man born blind who has been given a chance to see light. (Flowers for Algernon)

After Charlie's surgery that gives him previously unknown intelligence, he realizes the gift of understanding the world around him.

The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. . . (The Last Lecture)

Randy Pausch uses brick walls as a metaphor to describe the challenges in life and how determination can conquer them.

So my next piece of advice is, you just have to decide if you're a Tigger or an Eeyore. I think I'm clear where I stand on the great Tigger/Eeyore debate. Never lose the childlike wonder. It's just too important. (The Last Lecture)

Pausch also uses the metaphors of two childhood characters, Eeyore and Tigger, to describe two different outlooks on life. He highly favors being a Tigger.

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. (The Last Lecture)

Dying of cancer, Pausch refuses to be mentally defeated. He gives a lecture and writes a book in his months between diagnosis and death that inspires other people to live their lives to the fullest.

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Metaphors and similes are literary devices that use a comparison to better describe something. The difference between them is that a simile uses the words "like" or "as" to make the comparison—a metaphor does not. Metaphors and similes to better describe intelligence, determination, motivation, strength, perfection, or persistence are usually made by comparing the object of that quality to something that innately has that quality.

Intelligence
He was a real Albert Einstein.
Jamie was as intelligent as a Mensa scholar.

Motivation
At the race she knelt and held her breath, a lion waiting to pounce on its next meal.  
He worked faster, like a man who'd been promised a great reward only if he finished on time.

Strength
His arms were ropes of hard steel. 
He was as strong as an ox.

Perfection
Her hair was a bright, beautiful sunset, smoother than the finest cream.
The house was like something out of a magazine with its smooth floors and painted walls.

Persistence 
His life was a never-ending rainstorm, but he always remembered his umbrella.
She was like a clock that never stopped ticking.

When using similes or metaphors, always try to find examples that your audience will be able to relate to.

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As a suggestion about writing metaphors, remember that there are four ways to write metaphors, depending on whether the literal and figurative terms are respectively named or implied:

1. In the first form, both the literal and figurative terms are named.

e.g. Maurice was as intent upon his purpose as sprinter three yards from the finish line.

2. In the second form, the literal term is named and the figurative term is implied.

e.g. Jack's strength exploded.

3. In the third form, the literal term is not named, but the figurative term is.

e.g. Gene's relentless quest continued

4.  In the fourth term, both the literal term and the figurative term are implied.

e.g.  She drives forth, denying herself any weakness.

Remember, too, that similes are stated comparisons of two unlike elements using either as....as or like.

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Here are some similes and metaphors you might consider using:

1. INTELLEGENCE: Johnny raised his arm to asnwer every question so the others thought he was as smart as a rocket-scientist. (simile)

2. DETERMINATION: The children were so adamant about building their card tower just right, they looked like a bunch of worker ants trying to build their ant hill. (simile)

3. MOTIVATION: Mom lit a fire under Robbie today. His whole room was clean and shiny without a speck of dirty clothing anywhere in 38 short minutes. (metaphor)

4. STRENGTH: Robert is as strong as an ox. (simile)

5. PERFECTION: The hairstylist so finely manicured John's hair it was as if she was an accountant tabulating just how many needed to be cut. (simile)

6. PERSISTENCE: Rachel ran her race with the persistence of the Energizer bunny. She just kept going and going. (Metaphor) 

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