Invest in Your Life pt. 2: Seeing Things Differently

Reframing to Get Some Perspective!

This is the second in a series of articles on steps to a better life.

Some years ago I gave a presentation to apprentice footballers at Sheffield United. The first question I asked them was: “Do you get better if you train harder?” They all said, yes this was true.  I disagreed with all of them.

Often the opposite is true: For footballers too much can mean burn-out, injury and lack of form. It is quality not quantity that’s important. For them the answer was  “train Smart”

 “It is not what you do in your life but how you do it.”

How can you “Train Smart”?

One method is contained within the rather famous image below. This was originally drawn by cartoonist  W. E. Hill in 1915.  What do you see? Can you switch between the two images in your mind? The image that you initially see, young woman or old is based upon your connections to old and young women in your mind, your values, and beliefs past and present.

Being able to swap the images of young and old is a skill. And, being able to see ideas and problems from a different perspective is called “reframing”.  Alex Ferguson, the ex-Manchester United football manager used this when he helped his players to explain a poor first half performance as “we couldn’t see each other as we were wearing grey shirts”. The kit was dropped after this game and United won the remaining 5 games to take the title. Whether the players were indeed having difficulty in seeing each other or not was perhaps irrelevant . Alex Ferguson was really interested in helping his players to see their performance from a different angle. This was so successful it helped the players to not only feel better but move on to winning ways.

Not Hard Work but Smart Work

Reframing is a fundamentally helpful technique and we use variations of this method frequently in therapy. It is particularly important if you get stuck in repetitive thinking about a problem. Your answer in this case is to apply a creative approach to your thoughts. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking here?”; “Are there any alternatives ways of thinking about this?”; “What would happen if I carried them out?”.

You will need a bit of practice as this doesn’t come naturally, but the benefits are great.

This article is second in the series, of inward investment, tips to a better life articles. I hope that you enjoyed it and found it useful.

Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy helps clients to live life fully. We use a range of creative and traditional techniques to help you to sort out key issues in your lives in an efficient and effective manner.

Ken McLeish is Principal Therapist at Reflexions Counselling and Therapy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Reflexions provides counselling and therapy for a range of issues including addictions. He can be contacted through the website: .

Information contained in this blog is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It can only every be one view of a situation and may not be applicable to your situation. You are advised to seek specialist support for treatment for addictions. The work here is a personal view which may change over time and should not be taken as representative of Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Ken McLeish BA DMS MBA MSc MSc Cert Ed UKCP Reg
Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy
Alderman Fenwicks House, NE1 6SQ
0191 5805080

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