I have written extensively about the power of perception and how it greatly affects our lives. (belief, positive thinking) It is easy to see how perception and belief can greatly affect: how we respond to hardship, how we view the world, our levels of happiness and success, and our relationships with others, but how do we learn to identify our beliefs, how do we find negative views that we hold and change them into something more positive? The power over our beliefs comes from a simple technique called reframing.
Reframing is the process of taking a situation and placing it into another “frame” of view. To put it simply, you choose a viewpoint different than the one you are currently using to view a situation and view it from that new point of view.
An example of reframing could be: imagine you were just laid off from your job, you will be getting a small amount of unemployment but nowhere near what you need to live off of. It is very difficult to find work in your profession and you are terrified at the prospects of being broke and possibly even losing your home. I have already set the current frame for you. You are out of work, you might go broke, and it’s hard to find another job- from this standpoint your situation is pretty bleak-…but lets reframe the same situation into something different.
You ask yourself “What about this situation can I be grateful for?”, and “How can I use this setback as an OPPORTUNITY to get ahead in life?”.
Just a few possibilities are: use the knowledge from your work experience to start your own business ( you could even find a former co-worker to partner with and perhaps they could pay or share in your start-up costs), you could use this opportunity to go back to school and get further education or a degree, or you could decide to use this time off of work to finally lose that extra 75 lbs you have been carrying around.
Simply, your situation will be what you focus on: focus on the negatives and you’ll find only negatives, focus on what good can come and you’ll find something good.
A powerful refrain for any situation is this question: “What can I do right now, this very moment to make this situation better?”. If you say I don’t know, keep asking yourself over and over again until you figure something out. There is always an answer somewhere, you just have to decide to be persistent enough to find it. There are a lot of examples throughout history of people turning negative events into huge opportunities to improve their lives.
About 6 years ago I got laid off from my factory job and I used my unemployment benefits to get through school and earn a degree. I could have sat around doing nothing and taking a vacation on the government’s dime, but I decided to make the best of a bad event, and getting laid off from my job turned out to be one of the turning points of my life, in fact, I doubt I would be anywhere near where I am today if I hadn’t lost my job that winter.
The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation with a mind full of negative thoughts start reframing the situation. Ask yourself questions like: “What can I learn from this situation that will make me a better person?”, “How can I use this setback to get further in life towards my dreams?”, “What would a person, who knew that they could not fail, do in my situation?”, “How could I turn this negative event into a life changing event?”.
There was once a old black woman who got arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, it was a terrible, unjust, and immoral event. What good could have possibly come from an old woman being arrested for doing nothing more than resting her tired legs? A huge victory for the civil rights movement came right after this event, and it slowly brought an entire community together to end injustice.
We never know what comes next, but often times HUGE opportunities follow negative events, you just have to be in the right mindset to see them and capture them.
Every failure brings with a seed of equal or greater opportunity.-Napoleon Hill