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Reframing: Is It a Failure…or a Partial Success?

I want to talk about “reframing” in this blog post. Reframing is something I’m quite sure you’ve already done before on your own. What is it? It’s looking at a situation through a different lens. Let me give an example. When Edison was developing the light bulb, he made hundreds of attempts, trying various filaments and components. Although he did ultimately succeed, the pessimists among us might point to those hundreds of failed attempts and decide that, really, his track record was pretty poor. How many of us would have kept trying after that many failures? I’m not sure I would have been that persistent, myself. But Edison didn’t look at those failures as failures. I’m not sure if it’s apocryphal or if he really said it, but the quote attributed to him is, “I haven’t failed—I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” That is reframing.

If your annual review at work contained some areas of improvement, instead of focusing on the negative, you might reframe it as “now I know how to crush next year’s review.” Or, if there were one or two areas of improvement for the coming year but you were noted as doing very well in a half dozen others, you might reframe it as, “I did really well on 75% of my tasks and now I know how to do even better for next year.”

Reframing often involves switching the focus. Instead of taking an up-close look at the tree, back up a little and take in the forest. It can give you perspective and help you appreciate other elements of the situation. Reframing isn’t meant to get you to turn in Polyanna or to believe that everything is sunbeams and puppy dogs, but it is a tool to help us overcome our innate negativity bias. The negativity bias is the fact that our brains have developed to focus on and remember negative things because those are most likely to kill us. Happy and positive stuff gets shortchanged by our brains because it’s rarely a threat. Reframing can help you balance the scales a little.

If you are dealing with an issue that could benefit from some support and tools, I invite you to set up a free 15-minute video consultation with me. Call or text at 816-226-4678.

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