June 11 – Say your son tried hard on his math test but only got a C.



Instead of saying, “You’re a mediocre student who can’t excel, I’m disappointed,” why not try something like, “You’re a hardworking student who doesn’t care about results, I’m proud of you.” “?

Obviously, the latter statement is more encouraging and empowering.

Even more so if your son/student believes in it, internalizes it and keeps fighting in future exams.

The important thing is to reframe below-average performance in a way that encourages students to keep trying without losing their enthusiasm.

Similarly, suppose someone has worked at a job for decades and feels like a failure. Rather than accepting a discouragement such as “I’ve worked all these years and I’m still not very successful,” a better alternative framing might be “I’ve proven that I’m a survivor.” Yes, I have provided for my family; I can’t wait for the next step in my career!

According to the author, mind manipulation seeks to change the way we experience life by playing with our language and fooling our minds in ways that reduce fear and/or help us move forward. – Insplash image

Okay, it’s a bit cheesy, but such verbal sleight of hand is hardly a bad thing. Besides, we all use these “mind hacks” on our kids, friends, and colleagues from time to time, don’t we?

After all, this perspective – the way we see and think about situations – is what Scott Adams (the man behind the Dilbert cartoons) has his sights set on in his latest book, Reframe Your Mind: The User Interface for Happiness and Success.

Unlike neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) strategies and cognitive-behavioral therapy, mind manipulation works by playing with our language and trying to change the way our brains are “fooled” in order to reduce fear. Help and/or advance us.

It is almost a cliché that our reality is whatever our thought life consists of. If we’re afraid of public speaking, we’re more likely to have phrases like “I’m afraid because people always judge me” running through our heads.

Likewise, an average employee who keeps telling himself “I can do better because I have a lot to learn” will often achieve more than someone who keeps repeating the opposite.

The point is that, according to Adams, we can live a (literally) changed life if we just learn to change the way we shape reality with our words and thoughts.

Old thoughts = old reality in our head = old life. Replace the old with the new and, voila, you have new life.

While this approach is hardly new or revolutionary, I think Adams has done a good job of reproducing the style in his characteristically humorous, clear and vivid way.

One thing I like about the book is that he gives many examples of reframes that, at least for me, brought out a much stronger contrast to what he had learned in the past.

For example, if you’re feeling unenthusiastic about the future success of your new book or project or relationship, you might want to reconsider:

Normal frame: My chances of success are low.

Refram: Maybe I’m bad at estimating odds.

Adams goes on to point out that most of us are very poor predictors of anything. So why not rid yourself of the limiting belief about your ability to predict what might or might not happen?

If a new reframe or mind hacking helps you become more passionate and committed to your plans or projects, why not go for it?

Or if you’re the shy or socially inexperienced type, instead of avoiding functions or parties out of fear, you might consider:

Normal frame: Everyone in the party is a potential embarrassment to me.

Refram: Everyone has a problem (social awkwardness) that I can solve right now.

The important thing Adams emphasizes about reframes is that they are not necessarily true. The goal is to tell your brain what it needs to overcome a mental block, become more motivated, overcome fear, and so on to get the “juice” or “spring.”

When you perform a reframe, you’re not just attempting a new frame, you’re also questioning the previous frame (and in doing so, reducing its power over you).

(I’m reminded of the movie here. Maximum Payne (2008) where a policeman takes a potion that he believes is protected by the Valkyries, which in Norse mythology are angels who come to carry the dead to Valhalla and that By empowering him with the most human courage and strength. In a sense, BrainReframe is a less sensational “version” of this type of reality-bending drug that works independently of truth.)

Bringing the Truth Out is paradoxically appropriate because throughout the book, naturally, Adams shares his philosophy about the world that will not be acceptable to all, for example his view of work. Vision (“Hard is not as important as illusion. Hard work”, etc.), society (“Marriage is a flawed system”, “purity is the enemy of success”, etc.), ultimate reality (“We are a modern living in a computer simulation created by civilization”) politics (“we pick a team and the media assigns us their opinions”, etc.) etc.

Yet (and then) the truth of these statements, in Adams’s view, is less important than the impact they have on the individual’s fears, plans, dreams, and coping with them all. Mindhacking does not depend on objective “verifiable” reality, only on the effects on the individual’s perception, drive, motivation, etc.

There are easily 50 references in the book, all of which Adams helpfully lists in the final chapter. While, as Adams himself anticipated, no one will agree with all of them or find them all equally helpful, I must say that the power to reorder life in a different way Reminiscing is a pleasure.

I’ll end with one of my favorites in the book, a mind hack that we no doubt need more of today:

Normal frame: To judge people by their faults.

Refram: Judge people by how they react to their mistakes.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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