Perspective is Everything


The circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them, says Rory Sutherland in this TedX video.

Now the problem is, when you can’t smoke, if you stand and stare out of the window on your own, you’re an antisocial, friendless idiot. If you stand and stare out of the window on your own with a cigarette, you’re a fucking philosopher.

So the power of reframing things cannot be overstated. What we have is exactly the same thing, the same activity, but one of them makes you feel great and the other one, with just a small change of posture, makes you feel terrible. And I think one of the problems with classical economics is it’s absolutely preoccupied with reality. And reality isn’t a particularly good guide to human happiness.”

What happens in our life and the sense of control we have over our life are two different things and although this difference is absolutely fundamental, it is not understood by conventional economics from which stems public policies, the organisation of work, education etc…

The ability to reframe, i.e. change perspective on reality, is not confined to smart marketing executives trying to sell us stuff we do not need. It is at the heart of meditation and mindfulness. A good friend of mine who is a long time meditator had an experience of this when she inadvertently poured boiling water on her hand. Even though she could feel the burn, she stood there wondering how to categorise the experience, shout in pain or just run cold water over her hand (which she eventually decided to do).

Since Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioural economics, exploring the irrational ways we make decisions (see the post ‘Experience vs. Memory‘), we understand the depth the power of reframing holds over our happiness.

The question remains: HOW TO REFRAME ourselves (considering that very often, we are blissfully unaware that there IS in fact another perspective possible)?  NLP provides several powerful ways to reframe our perspective on reality, people, situations, beliefs etc…  (check the schedule of all workshops to read more about this).


Leave a Reply