I’m pretty lucky just now in that all my clients are in locations that can be easily reached by train allowing me the luxury of spending my commuting time in a productive manner to get a head start on important work. I do however have the odd occasion where the trusty car is needed leading to me sitting in the obligatory traffic jam. I had such an occasion this week which was a timely reminder of the power of the reframe.
I was never the most patient driver and sitting in traffic was a huge bugbear of mine, I always used to view it as the biggest waste of time and would find myself getting extremely agitated and ultimately it put me in a bad mood. Then a really good friend of mine asked me if I had ever used reframing to view the situation differently.
A good definition of reframing, I believe, comes from Watzlawick, Weakland and Fisch (1974) who describe reframing as follows: “To reframe, then, means to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another frame which fits the ‘facts’ of the same concrete situation equally well or even better, and thereby changing its entire meaning.”
I spent some time chatting this through with my friend who knows what a huge lover of music I am and that I am also starting to learn French. His suggestion was that every time I find myself sitting in traffic instead of viewing it negatively that I should view it more positive and see it as an opportunity to spend even more time listening to French classes on CD or catching up on the latest additions to my music collection. I was initially sceptical that such a simple approach could change my whole mind-set when in a traffic jam but I gave it a go……..and it worked.
It’s now a regularly used part of my toolkit that I put it in to practice again this week, it kept me very chilled and it has to be said I’m loving the latest release from Frank Turner and the latest album from Saint Raymond.