Body Language / Communication / Leadership

How to Use ‘Reframing’ to Reimagine Failure

Neurolinguistic programming is a popular set of tools that are often used in therapeutic and sales settings. While it has some similarities with psychotherapy, it is not recognized as a branch of psychology and is in fact generally regarded as a ‘pseudoscience’ with no scientific backing and not based on research.

That said, it is still used commonly in certain circles and is largely considered to have worthwhile ‘aspects’ at least. One of these worthwhile aspects is ‘reframing’ which you can use to reimagine failure.

What is Framing?

The idea behind framing is to try and change the way that you view and interpret various events in your life by changing the way that you visualize them when you’re thinking about them.

So if you were to have had a highly traumatic and upsetting event for instance, you might find that it’s stressful for you to relive it in your mind’s eye. When you do this, you will find that you view it in a certain way. For instance, it might seem particularly vivid, or perhaps it will seem grey and dull. Perhaps you’ll even find that the memory appears ‘larger’ than some others in your mind’s eye.

The idea with reframing then, is to change the way that you remember that event and the way that you visualize it. You can do this by ‘forcing’ yourself to picture it happening differently. Perhaps you can ‘shrink’ the image as you remember it for instance, or maybe you can add or remove color.

By doing this you can gradually make the memory less vivid and thus less painful. This then allows you to learn from your failures, rather than just experiencing them vividly and painfully.

Cognitive Restructuring

This is similar in a way to cognitive restructuring which is a method of changing the way you think. When you remember an event you don’t just experience it, you also have thoughts about it that you will ruminate on. Perhaps for instance you’ll find yourself thinking about how badly you handled the situation or how it’s likely to happen again.

In cognitive restructuring, you change this by using ‘thought challenging’. That means testing how accurate those beliefs are and how ‘useful’ they are. Ultimately, you can stop yourself thinking damaging and upsetting things and replace them with only positive and helpful thoughts that help you to move on.

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