Hang a different picture. | 011/100

Behavioural economists and psychologists have proven time and time again we are far from the rational, logical decision makers textbooks (and sometimes, other people) expect us to be. But did you really need them to? Look around you – there’s evidence aplenty in your everyday life.

We view everything through a frame. We tell ourselves stories to make sense of a complex, uncaring and chaotic world. We anchor our perceptions to what we already know.

Being aware of all this doesn’t stop us from being affected. We’re animals: what’s one blog post going to do to counter millions of years of evolution? Let’s stop trying to fight what we are.

We should use our irrationality to our advantage.

Of course we use stories and frames to understand the world. How else could we communicate what we perceive as true to each other, get things done or make decisions? Through spreadsheets, graphs or numbers? They have a place, of course – and it’s wrapped up in a larger narrative.

We can utilise this. As the father of pragmatism, William James, said:

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

So, if you’re in a bind – change the frame. Choose a different thought. Relax your assumptions about the problem, and look at the scenario in an entirely different way. Stop moaning about the unfairness of life. And, as problems become challenges…

  • Unfairness becomes an opportunity to prevail against the odds.
  • A long, hard slog becomes a rewarding journey.

Reframe the conversation you have with yourself – and fundamentally change your world.

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