Does that frame need changing…? August 26, 2014 – Posted in: Confidence, Personal Development – Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Hamlet said, “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” As we say goodbye to the summer and anticipate the onset of autumn we have a choice; we can either dread the colder, wetter weather or we can look forward to the leaves changing colour and the excitement of the build up to Christmas. It’s up to you – the end of summer can be a good thing or a bad thing depending entirely on the frame you put around it. In fact, the end of summer can be just that – the end of a season and the beginning of a new one. It doesn’t even have to be a good or a bad thing.

This principle of framing can be applied to any area of your life. When life doesn’t go the way you want it to you can choose to moan and be fearful of your future (“what if this keeps happening?”) or you can look for the lesson. I know a young man who, due to a series of unpleasant events in his childhood, had decided that all people were untrustworthy and that, in order to avoid emotional pain, he would never trust anyone again. This frame of, “people are untrustworthy’ worked for a while until he started to get interested in girls! He’s a good-looking, kind, intelligent guy but girls just weren’t interested and he couldn’t work out why. During coaching we revealed the roots of his frame and, crucially, how it was unconsciously causing him to act frostily towards people. In time he was able to develop a new frame, namely “the people who let me down in the past are untrustworthy but this doesn’t apply to everyone.” Meeting new people this more positive frame has proven much easier for him.

If I think something is a problem I will attack it with a negative mindset. However, if I see the same something as a challenge I will approach it with a more positive energy. I remember hearing someone once tell the story of being stuck in terrible traffic that was making her late to get home to change for a family party. This woman sat in her car cursing her bad luck and angrily banging the steering wheel only to arrive home (an hour later than planned) to see a lorry crashed into the front room of her house. Had she been in she would’ve been involved in the crash. Her frame had been that her lateness was a bad thing but it actually saved her life.

When Hamlet said, “for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” he added, “To me it is a prison.” What he failed to acknowledge was that our thinking is a self-imposed prison for which we have the keys. So, if you’re feeling stuck or frustrated by something today, try changing the frame of beliefs you have around the situation and see what changes…


This column originally appeared in my Life Column for The Bath Magazine.

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