If there’s one thing that will either make or break you, it’s your mindset. You can have two people experience the exact same turn of events, and yet one will become wildly successful, while the other lives his life as a failure.
Why is this? I propose it’s due to something known as your “frame,” or your underlying set of beliefs. Otherwise known as your mindset, this determines how you interact with reality. It determines what you think, what you feel, and how you act.
Thus, learning to change it, is crucial for your success—this is where the idea of the “re-frame” comes in.
It’s probably one of the most powerful psychological tricks that I’ve ever encountered, and I’m going to share it with you today.
First: Define Frame
Your frame, as I alluded to before, is basically the way that you see reality. It’s your set of accumulated beliefs, about yourself, others, and the world.
Sometimes your frame can be good, in the sense that it encourages success. A frame that has the following beliefs, would be good:
The world is an awesome place
I love myself for who I am
There’s nothing wrong with me
If I work hard, I can achieve anything
Other people think I’m cool
Other times, however, your frame can be bad. Unfortunately, this is what a lot of peoples’ frames look like:
The world is a scary place
I’m not good enough as I am
There’s a lot of things wrong with me
Hard work isn’t worth it
Other people generally dislike me
Now, let’s have an example to clarify. Say that Jon has the good frame, and Jerry has the bad frame. They both encounter the same experience.
How will they each react? I can guarantee you that Jerry will react in a way that hurts his success, whereas Jon will react in a way that will further his goals.
Whenever Jerry encounters a difficulty in life, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to improve himself, he sees it as just one more reason to be depressed.
When Jerry loses his job, it reinforces his belief that the world is a scary place. “Wow, I shouldn’t take risks—I should find a stable job and stay there.”
When Jerry gets rejected by a girl, it reinforces his belief that women dislike him. “Wow, women really don’t like me.”
When Jerry is tired, he views it as an excuse to stay in bed and forgo working: “I’m so tired, I’ll just wait until tomorrow.”
When Jerry feels depressed, he doesn’t try to change it. “What’s the point?”
“These are all bad things though, Jon! It’s normally to feel that way.” Interestingly enough, it’s not—but more on that later. The thing is, even if something GOOD happens to Jerry, because his underlying frame is negative, he’ll interpret it in a negative way!
A girl complements Jerry: “She must just pity me.”
Jerry feels happy: “This will go away sooner or later.”
Jerry wins a free trip to Hawaii: “How can I enjoy this? I didn’t even earn it.”
Jerry gets promoted: “Wow, great. More responsibilities and more work…”
Do you get the idea here? It doesn’t matter what happens to Jerry, he’s going to figure out a way to focus on the negative. This is because his underlying frame is negative.
In other words, no matter what happens to Jerry, he’ll still take ACTIONS that are negative. His belief system is still negative, because he doesn’t understand what I call the re-frame.
The Art of the Re-Frame
There’s a technique that special forces use, that I’ve dubbed the “hardcore reframe.” The basic idea behind the hardcore reframe, is that EVERYTHING is an advantage. No matter how horrible or difficult something seems, it’s an advantage.
For example, earlier today I woke up and had only gotten 3 hours of sleep—I was completely exhausted! I knew that today was my “Chest and Arms” workout, and I really didn’t want to skip a day…so what did I do?
Well, most guys would’ve just said “I’m tired, I’ll go tomorrow.” But they don’t understand the art of the reframe. Do you know what I said? “I’m tired? Fucking great, an opportunity to forge more will power.”
Do you see? It’s not that I was tired, boo hoo, woe is me, I won’t go to the gym, my life sucks. It’s that I’m tired, and this is a chance for me to push through my fatigue and train my discipline. It’s an opportunity to prove what I’m worth.
This is the hardcore reframe—no matter how hard something gets, no matter how bad something seems, you ALWAYS frame the situation in a way that’s positive.
This quote is a reframe
When you start to understand how frame works, and how you can actually re-frame things, your life will magically start to come together.
Take a look at some of the scenarios below, and see how Jon re-frames them.
Jon loses his job, and thinks: “Great, an opportunity to find a better one.”
Jon gets rejected by a girl, and thinks: “She just has really bad taste in men.”
Jon is exhausted, and thinks: “Great, a chance to build more will power.”
Jon feels depressed, and tells himself: “Awesome—if I can act now, it’ll be 10x easier to act when I’m happy.”
Again, a cynic would point out that these things are bad, and they’d call Jon delusional, but that isn’t the point. The point is that when you re-frame things that are negative into things that are positive, it affects your belief system, which affects your ability to take ACTION.
I would’ve never gone to the gym earlier today, if I hadn’t re-framed my fatigue into something good. I would’ve just sat in bed, and fallen back asleep, rather than going to the gym and tearing it up.
But, because I understand psychology, I told myself: “Jon, if you go to the gym now, you’re better than 99% of other people. This is a chance to exercise discipline over your tired body.” This makes me WANT to go to the gym!
So, I got up out of bed, mixed up one of my meth-like pre-workouts, and hit the gym. Without this hardcore re-frame, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.
Re-Frame Your Entire Life
Once you start to understand that everything can be re-framed in a positive way, your life will improve drastically. This is because, your thoughts determine your actions.
So, if you can re-frame your negative thoughts into positive ones, this will affect your beliefs, which will affect your actions.
The next time that you have a negative thought, ask yourself: how does this work to my advantage? What benefit do I get from this? Even though it may SEEM bad, how does it actually help me?
Plenty of great men have been through incredible amounts of struggle—and in retrospect, they often admit that although they hated it, it was this same struggle that made them great.
Once you start to re-frame your life, you’ll realize that EVERYTHING can be viewed as an advantage. You weren’t born with any money? Great, you’re not spoiled like those rich kids. You had an abusive father? Great, now you have emotional resilience.
You’re depressed and anxious all the time? Great, once you overcome those issues you’ll be unstoppable. You’ve got physical problems, like an illness? Awesome—a chance to prove your will power and find a cure that nobody else has found yet.
EVERYTHING can be turned into a positive frame, and when you frame your thoughts in a positive way, they’ll affect your beliefs and make it easier to take action. Rather than looking at the negative side of life, you’ll only see upsides and positives.
Once you realize that you can reframe your struggles, and that EVERYTHING is working in your favor, a world of possibilities will open up to you.
Every single thing that’s happened to you so far, has been in your favor. All of your suffering? They made you stronger. All of your failures? They made you wiser. All of your rejections? They toughened you up.
Once you learn to re-frame your negative experiences, they will take on a new meaning. Rather than life happening “to you,” it happens “for you.”
This subtle distinction may not seem significant, but in reality, it’s the difference between incredible success and massive failure. Try re-framing your life for 1 month, and you will see what I’m talking about.