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Challenge or threat? You choose!

In work that I have recently been doing, I have begun to notice more and more, our natural ability to frame things in certain ways. What I mean by this is that we all have an inherent ability to look at things and think about things in a certain way.

So, what are two ways that we can look at this?

From these experiences, it seems that we tend to view situations as challenges/opportunities or threats. Now, what do these mean? Firstly, I have noted challenges/opportunities because a challenge insinuates that there is an opportunity to disprove something or prove that we are better than something. This also highlights the opportunity component, that there is a chance for us to demonstrate whatever it is that we are trying to.

The threat component refers to situations that we feel threatened by. Situations that may alter our performance, our perception of ourselves or other peoples' perceptions of us. It is an attack on our identity that is likely to cause damage in some way.

How can we avoid this?

Well, firstly, we have a choice. We can choose how we want to look at and perceive a situation. It is also a natural skill that we possess. So, in the same that we would perceive or understand something, we also have the ability to perceive it or understand it in a different way. This is a skill that needs to be practiced and with more practice it will become more natural. Hence, we have optimists and pessimists or glass half full people and glass half empty people. We can train this!

How would we train this?

The first step in the process would be to increase awareness of the issue. From there we are able to make adjustments to how we perceive things. These adjustments may occur through a reframing process. This would simply involve changing your point of view, and this often has knock on effects to change your behaviour too. From this point we would embed the new processes and assure that they work effectively.

Closing thought: An example

How would you perceive a situation if in one instance I said to you, "catch this ball" and in another I said, "don't drop this ball"?

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