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How Reframing Events Leads to Success

How Reframing Events Leads to Success


    Have you ever wondered how some people always manage to achieve success in life even when they are going through traumatic events or situations?

    What’s their secret?

    I’ve researched what the most successful people do when the going gets tough and there’s one killer technique that I’m going to share with you today that you can start using immediately.

    This is it:

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    ‘Reframing’ Situations

    Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we can always ‘reframe’ our situation. So – no matter how bad everything appears to be, we always have the choice to make ourselves feel better by changing the way we view our problems or situations.

    The key point is this:

    We can’t always change the things that happen to us in life, but we can change the way we view them

    Here’s an example of a smart student using the ‘reframe‘ technique to help her parents ‘view’ a situation differently:

    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

    So essentially, ‘reframing’ events is a way of changing your ‘perspective’ in life so that you don’t get so caught up in everyday problems.

    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 ‘view’ the event or situation.

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    You can choose to ‘view’ it negatively or you can choose to ‘view’ it positively.

    The research shows that those who reframe challenging events & situations positively will achieve much more success than those who reframe negatively.

    Why?

    In my opinion it can be easy to get caught up in everyday problems and this can block us from getting ahead. By ‘reframing’ events you can ensure you’re always moving forward and are not getting fixated on the problems in your life.

    It’s all about context –  if you perceive something to be bad – that is often because you are comparing it to something you perceive to be better.

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    So, take a lesson from the most successful people in history and choose to reframe positively.

    The inventor of electric light, Thomas Edison was a genius at ‘reframing’ events in his life and in my opinion it was this technique that powered him forward through every failure to his eventual success.

    Having been asked this question by a New York Times journalist: “How does it feel to have failed seven hundred times?”, Edison’s reply was as follows:

    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.  - Thomas A. Edison

      Imagine what you could achieve if you began to ‘reframe’ the failures in your life instead of being blocked by them?

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      How Can you Start Reframing Today?

      1. The next time you notice yourself feeling frustrated about a situation or perceiving something to be ‘bad’, ask yourself how you can reframe it?
      2. Start by finding something worse to compare it to by thinking, “At least ‘X’ didn’t happen”.
      3. Try flipping the situation around to gain a positive from it.
      4. Think about what you have learned from the experience – this can often provide a positive reframe.
      5. Consider how the experience will help you move forward and remember that failure is always a pre-requisite for success.

      (Photo credit: Businessman Different View via Shutterstock)

      More by this author

      Zoe B

      A strategist, coach and blogger who shows people how to stop what isn't working for them in life and to start to plan the life they really want.

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      Last Updated on July 23, 2019

      5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

      5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

      In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

      Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

      How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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      • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
      • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
      • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
      • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
      • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
      • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

      When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

      1. Realize You’re Not Alone

      Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

      2. Find What Inspires You

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      Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

      On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

      3. Give Yourself a Break

      When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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      Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

      4. Shake up Your Routines

      Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

      Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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      When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

      5. Start with a Small Step

      Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

      Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

      More to Help You Stay Motivated

      Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

      Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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