Have you ever heard of a technique called reframing? It’s nothing more involved than altering perspectives. I was exposed to this technique many years ago by an early mentor. Although fairly easy to perform, it can be very powerful. There are many ways to reframe a situation, behavior or even a belief, but the two main techniques are content and context.

Although fairly easy, there’s not enough space here to fully explain these techniques, so we’ll briefly touch on some basics.

Our past experiences influence our ability to see what's happening in the world and to interpret it. However, there are many ways to experience a situation. One of the keys to living a successful life is to consistently interpret your experience in ways that support you in getting the results you want.

With both content and context reframing, the techniques that can be used will help us look at things from a different perspective—from negative to positive.

Content reframing is to give another meaning to a statement by recovering more content. An example might be that your boss always assigns difficult but important customers to your account. Instead of feeling stressed, change the meaning to “my boss trusts me to handle the most difficult and important customers.” There is more than a subtle difference in the two meanings!

Another example of content reframing is attributed to Oliver P. Smith. Smith was a famous army general of WWII and the Korean conflict who reframed a distressful situation for his troops by telling them that, "We're not retreating, we're just advancing in another direction." As seen with these two examples, content reframing is simply changing the meaning of a situation—that is, the situation or behavior stays the same, but the meaning is changed.

Context reframing is the second technique. It involves taking an experience that seems to be negative and imagining how the same experience can be an advantage if you see it in another context. Children's literature is full of context reframing. The ugly duckling suffered great pain because he was so different from his peers, but his difference was his beauty as a full-grown swan. Rudolph's nose, at first an object of ridicule by other reindeer, turned into an advantage and made him a hero in the context of a dark, snowy night.

Many parents of disabled children help their kids turn what some call handicaps into special gifts. And there’s a multitude of examples of people who have turned failure into learning experiences that helped them succeed in a big way.

So, you see, it's not what happens to you in life that makes or breaks you, it's how you interpret what happens to you. That decision is in your hands.

Think about it…