How to Use ‘Reframing’ to Reimagine Failure

fear of failure overcoming succssWhen we fail at something, it can often be difficult to get back up and try again. This can keep us from reaching our highest potential. This is why they say if you fall off a horse, get right back on. It stops the fear of failure (getting thrown) from keeping us riding.

So how do we get back on the proverbial horse when we are thrown in real life? There are a number of techniques that we can use. One is called “reframing” and it is used in Neurolinguistic programming.

Neurolinguistic programming is a popular methodology that is often used in therapeutic and sales settings. It was developed by psychologists, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, back in the 1970s and while it has some similarities with psychotherapy, it is not recognized as a branch of psychology. In fact, it is generally regarded as a ‘pseudoscience’ as it has no scientific backing and isn’t based on research.

Regardless of its scientific merit, neurolinguistic programming is still used in certain circles and is largely considered to have valuable applications. One of these worthwhile aspects is ‘reframing’ which can be used to re-imagine failure.

What is Framing?

The idea behind framing is to change your view and interpretation of various events in your life by altering the way you visualize them when you recall those events.

For example, if you experienced a highly traumatic and upsetting event, it may be extremely stressful for you to relive it in your mind’s eye.  In fact, when you do so, you’ll find that you see it in a certain way. It may seem particularly vivid or perhaps, gray and dull. The memory possibly appears ‘larger’ than some others in your mind’s eye.

Reframing is meant to change the way you remember and visualize that event. You do this by ‘forcing’ yourself to picture it occurring differently. One way to do this is to ‘shrink’ the image as you remember or maybe you can add or dull the colors you see in your mind’s eye.  You rehearse this scene over and over in your mind minimizing the color and shrinking the image until it becomes less intense.

The ultimate goal is to make the memory less vibrant and therefore less painful. By doing so, you are able to learn from your failures, rather than just experiencing them intensely and painfully.

Cognitive Restructuring

Reframing is similar, in a way, to cognitive restructuring which is a technique of changing the way you think. When you remember an event, you don’t just re-experience it, there are also thoughts about it that you play over and over in your mind. Let’s say you had a run-in with a colleague and you didn’t react in a way that you are proud of. Perhaps you’ll find yourself thinking about how poorly you handled the situation or maybe how likely it is to happen again.

In cognitive restructuring, this excessive pondering is changed by using ‘thought challenging’. This means testing how accurate your beliefs are and how helpful they are. Ultimately, you can prevent these damaging and upsetting thoughts by replacing them with only positive and helpful thoughts that allow you to move on.

So when you find yourself trapped by fear of failure (or success), try reframing or conginitve restructing. Get yourself back on the horse called LIFE.

The world needs your gifts and skills. Fear ain’t got nothing on you!

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