From Quiet to Introspective: The Power of Reframing

Let's talk about re-framing.

Re-framing is shifting your viewpoint, so that it can be seen from another perspective. Thus, quiet becomes introspective.

Reframing can reshape a defensive posture into an appeal to a person’s needs or interests. A union representative’s request for pay raises may be reframed as an imperative to keep talented people. At its best, reframing helps to shift one’s perspective from a place of confusion, frustration, or isolation to one in which they feel more empowered to act. It's a valuable approach to problem solving, decision making and learning.

I’ll share a recent experience.

I recently camped in Homochitto National Forest, in Mississippi. Near my campsite, a large truck drove over a tree stump and got stuck. Campers are supposed to look out for each other, so I walked over to help. The driver got out, confused. His friend came over to help. The friend was limping and clearly in pain (hurt himself chopping wood with a SWORD). The injured friend tried to lift the front of the truck and told his buddy to floor it in reverse. I looked under the truck and saw the stump was wedged between the front axle and the front bumper. I pointed out that revving the truck in reverse would just tear off the front bumper. They stopped.

Even though I was talking to them, the guys didn't acknowledge me. A women exited the passenger side of the truck to see what was going on. I asked her what she thought about the problem and she shrugged “It’s a car thing, I’m just going to leave it to the men.”

I replied “It’s not about how the truck is running, it’s about getting it off the stump. It’s really about solving a puzzle.” (REFRAMING)

“Oh!” She perked up. “I’m really good at puzzles!"

The limping guy was loud and confident. I won’t get into the various methods he tried to get the car unstuck. But in the end, it was the combined efforts of three women (the woman from the car, a volunteer park ranger, and me), who got the truck free.

Reframing the situation from car trouble to a puzzle helped that woman realize that she had something to contribute. And ultimately, she was the one who drove that truck off the stump.

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