A reframe can be one of the most useful aspect of mental jiu jitsu your brain is capable of. If you think about a picture on the wall, maybe it has a solid black frame that is inches thick and actually dominates the picture to the extent you question the logic of the individual that framed it in the first place. In a fit of assertiveness you discretely dismantle the frame and insert the picture into a slimmer light oak frame that brings out the colours of the picture in a whole new way.
You can see your thoughts as the picture and the meaning you place on them as the frame.
Outside of our awareness we are taking in information via our senses each and every second of the day. Our visual senses alone take in 11 million bits of information a second. Thats a lot!
Luckily our brain has learnt to systemise in its evolutionary history and as a result happily filters away the unimportant stuff so what you are aware of in your moment to moment experience is what your brain has decided is worth paying attention to. Part of that is the thoughts you have.
The thoughts you have form the story you tell yourself and the world and your place in it. Just like Hollywood, there are good stories (Skyfall) and then there are shit stories (Napolean Dynamite, Im sorry that film had no right be become a cult classic!). What is more important to understand though is the story you tell yourself can dramatically affect the decisions you make and that is why reframing is vital to understand and implement as you look to turn your ideas into reality.
Just like most things relating to the brain and human behaviour the reframe can become habitual but first has to be intentional. Studies of the most optimistic and resilient people typically find that these individuals are able to reframe their circumstances in order to cope with the situation and not become a victim.
To get you started the following are some examples of reframes to give you an idea of how you can apply it straight away on your own thinking:
A bad first week of sales
People must think my products are rubbish
I’ve learnt a lot this week that I can apply next week
Your partner was critical about your idea
What a bastard! I might as well give up now.
I wonder if there was something specific they didn’t like.
Past attempts to create ideas have failed.
Why bother when I know in 3 months the same thing will happen.
Ok, these past failures has shown me what not to do, lets see how I can do this better.
Don’t have as much money as you’d like.
I’ll never be as wealthy as those people.
I’ve got what I need to get started to begin earning the income I’d like.
Exercise to apply this:
1.On your phone set an alarm for 4 periods throughout the day. Set them a couple of hours apart. When the alarm goes off, become aware of your thoughts that you are having. In a casual manner, imagine you are playing a game where each reframe is a move forward and a ‘bathing in the bad thought’ is a step back. For each reframe you get a point. Be creative, the idea is to alter mood not to be right or realistic.
2. Become aware of what your friends and colleagues are saying. If it is not useful or self defeating ask yourself ‘what would be a good reframe of this’. Facebook tends to be a good one for this on their status feeds. For now do not offer them the reframe, just think about how you would reframe it.
When you practice this more and more the reframe will become automatic, you will not even realise you are doing it and discover you will have more resilience and the willingness to execute the good ideas you have.
I’d love to hear from you? What have you found useful in stopping negative thoughts from ruining your ideas?