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The Transformation Of Meaning...

Nov 28, 2007
Imagine that the company you have worked so hard for in the last 20 years decided that it was time to retrench you because they can replace you with someone at half your salary. How would you feel?

What meaning would you give to this experience?

Most people would feel angry, bitter and rejected. Because it means that their source of income and security is gone, cut off.

They would feel betrayed. They would feel that they have just wasted 20 years of their life. They would feel that they are too old and no longer of value! The meaning they attach to this experience would put them in a totally un-resourceful state.

What do you think will happen when people in such a state go for a new job interview? Will they impress upon their prospective new employer qualities of enthusiasm, passion, energy and drive?

Not likely. Chances are that they will unconsciously exhibit low self-esteem, bitterness and jadedness.

As a result, it will take them a long time to find someone who wants to hire them. Even if they eventually find another job, it may be a part-time job or one of much lower status and pay.

Now, in this new job do you think they will give their all? Most likely they would be thinking to themselves, 'What's the point? I gave my best years to my former company, look where it has gotten me?'

As a result, this person will reinforce the meaning he has attached to the retrenchment, that it was the worst thing that has ever happened to him.

At the same time, I have also seen many other people attach a totally different meaning to the same experience of retrenchment. To these positive people, retrenchment means that it is the company's great loss.

It means that they have the opportunity to start a new career or business in a field they have a whole lot more passion for. It means that they will finally be paid what they are worth!

And the 'bonus' is that they are getting a great pay-out which will be the seed money to get them started in a business they always wanted to be in, but never had a good reason to start. Getting retrenched also means that they have much more freedom and flexibility to plan ahead.

For those looking for a new employer, retrenchment could mean that they are glad to leave an ungrateful company and move to another where they would be more appreciated, whose corporate culture would be more in sync with theirs.

By framing retrenchment in this way, these people attach a whole different meaning to the same experience. They put themselves into a total resourceful state of possibility, enthusiasm, motivation, passion and excitement.

They will be driven to upgrade their skills, hunt for new career opportunities and even start their own business. As a result of taking all this action do you think they will end up in a situation that is better than where they were previously?

Of course! I have so many (older) friends who were forced to start their own business after the 1987 recession and, because of this, many of them are a lot wealthier, happier and have a greater sense of freedom and purpose.

One of these enterprising people I know has just listed his shipping company and is personally worth $28 million. He keeps saying that the layoff was the best thing that ever happened to him. Again, the meaning these people choose to give to their experience was the meaning they created.

Why is it that the same experience can destroy one person and empower another to a new level of success?

We re-present (frame) things very differently in our minds. Some people have a pattern of constantly framing experiences in such a way that it dis-empowers them and puts them in un-resourceful states. Others constantly frame things in a way that gets them empowered and extremely resourceful.

So which re-presentation of The Experience is true? Is it a blessing or a curse? Is it an opportunity or a problem? However you choose to re-present the experience becomes true for you.
About the Author
Adam Khoo is an entrepreneur, best-selling author and a self-made millionaire by the age of 26. Discover his supercharged success secrets and claim your FREE bonus report 'Supercharge Your Success!' at Success With NLP.
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