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The Art Of Changing Meaning

Dec 23, 2007
The process of turning a negative experience into a positive one is called reframing.

The two ways in which you can do this is Content Reframing and Context Reframing.

Content Reframing

Content reframing is the process of changing a negative experience into a positive one by changing the meaning of the experience. Remember, every event has multiple meanings. The meaning we choose to focus on is what becomes real for us.

The best way to do a content reframe is to ask the question, 'What else can this mean?' 'How can this benefit or empower me instead of depressing me?'

For example, if the recession hit when you were about to start your business, you could content reframe it by saying, 'Good! This means that business costs, like rental and salaries, will be lower and allow us to break even faster'.

Or you could say, 'Good! This means prospective clients will be more open to listening to suppliers who offer better value for money.' There are multiple reasons why starting a business in a recession will be a positive experience!

What if someone told you, 'My son does not stop talking' You could reframe this negative comment by saying 'Good that means he must be full of ideas', or, 'This means he must be very intelligent.'

If the person you love leaves you for someone else, reframe the loss by saying, 'Good. This means that I can find someone who truly loves me' or 'this means I can find someone who is more caring, beautiful and loyal.'

Context Reframing

Another way to reframe an experience is to do a context reframe. A context reframe is the process of changing a negative experience into a positive one by changing the context from which it is perceived.

Have you ever had a negative experience only to look back at it five years later and say, 'That was a blessing in disguise?' In a different context (i.e. the future), the meaning of that experience changed from bad to good.

In doing a context reframe, you must ask the question, 'in a different time or place, how would the meaning be beneficial?'

You see, everything that seems bad now, when put into a different time or place, could appear beneficial.

Going back to the first example of starting a business in a recession, you could use a context reframe by saying, 'When the economy picks up, the company will be positioned to do very well as it has been tested & strengthened by the recession'.

You could do a context reframe on the boy who talks all the time by saying, 'When he grows up, he will make a good public speaker' (context of time). Or you could also say, 'The fact that he talks all the time will certainly earn him a place on the school debating team (context of place). Are you getting the hang of it?

How we represent or (frame) our experiences determine our response and the outcomes we achieve. Therefore we must learn to constantly frame experiences in ways that empower ourselves and the people around us.

When we change the way we represent (frame) something, we totally change the meaning and the emotions associated with that experience. As a result, we change the decisions we make and the actions we take.

You must learn how to create resourceful meanings out of every experience. Successful leaders and entrepreneurs do this to empower themselves and others to reach their goals.
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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