Have you ever wondered how some people are always happy and smiley no matter what’s going on in their lives? Perhaps you know someone who doesn’t have much luck in life yet still manages to remain upbeat. Just how do they do it? There’s one very simple strategy that can help:
The Ability To Reframe Situations
Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we can always reframe our situation. This means that no matter how bad everything seems, we always have the ability to make ourselves feel better by changing the way we view our problems or situations.
Here’s an example of a great reframe – it’s a letter from a student to her parents:
Dear Mum and Dad
Apologies for taking so long to write, but my writing utensils were destroyed in the fire at my apartment. I am out of the hospital and the doctor says I should be able to lead a healthy normal life. A handsome young man called Pete saved me from the fire and kindly offered to share his apartment with me. He is very nice and drives a lovely motorcycle, which I like to travel on with him – we go so fast and it is fun. I think you’ll be happy when I tell you that he did the right thing and we got married last week…you see you’re going to be grandparents very soon.
Actually – there was no fire, I haven’t been in hospital, I’m not married and I’m not pregnant. But I did fail my biology exam and I just wanted to make sure that when I told you, you put it into proper perspective.
Love Your Daughter
The way that we choose to ‘frame’ our lives will depend on our personal happiness and achievement. The fact is that there will be times when you don’t have control over an event or a situation. You do though, have control over the way that you ‘frame’ the event or situation.
You can choose to ‘frame’ it negatively or you can choose to ‘frame’ it positively.
The research shows that those who reframe challenging events & situations positively will achieve much more success and will generally have a happier life then those who reframe negatively.
It’s all about context – if you perceive something to be bad – that is because you are comparing it to something you perceive to be better.
So, take a lesson from the most successful people in history and choose to reframe positively.
The inventor of electric light, Thomas Edison was very good at this. Having been asked this question by a New York Times journalist: “How does it feel to have failed seven hundred times?”, his reply was:
“I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. When I have eliminated all the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
Simple Life Strategy: reframe for success
So – what can you reframe today?
- Next time you notice yourself feeling frustrated about a situation or perceiving something to be ‘bad’, ask yourself how you can reframe it?
- You could start by finding something worse to compare it to by thinking “At least X didn’t happen”
- Try flipping the situation around to gain a positive from it
- Think about what you have learned from the experience – this can often provide a positive reframe
- Consider how the experience will help you move forward
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