Did you hear the one about the man who called up a local church?
The minister’s secretary answered the phone. The man said, “I’d like to speak to the head hog.” Shocked, the secretary replied, “That’s not a very kind thing to say about our beloved priest!” The man replied, “I’d like to speak to the head hog because I’d like to donate $1,000,000 to the church.” The secretary replied, “Hold on a moment, I think the big fat pig just walked in.”
Sometimes it’s all about how you reframe what’s in front of you.
We know a “frame” as a piece of wood or plastic that surrounds a photograph or a piece of art. It frames the perspective of what we see. A window frame does the same thing. So does a time frame. Even the way you look at something is framing. Try this trick. Hold your pointing finger upright at arms length. Close your right eye. Your left eye gives you one perspective. Leave your arm where it’s at, but close your left eye instead. Your right eye gives you an entirely different perspective. Framing gives us context to understand something. By “reframing” something, you get a new context or a new focus for what we think, understand and act.
The familiar nine-dot problem is another example of framing. To solve the riddle of how to draw one continuous straight line to connect all nine dots, you have to “think outside the box.” Most people perceive (believe) the line can’t go outside this perceived box. Why not? If you break that perception, that is, you “reframe” the box, you can reframing the problem and find a new solution.
By definition, “reframing” means looking at your opinions, attitudes, beliefs and actions differently, and by doing do, opening up the possibility to different ways, choices or actions. This is why “reframing” is a vital skill for creativity. Oftentimes you need to look at your old problem from a fresh perspective. More so, reframing our perception of the problem not only changes how we brainstorm, it also changes how we make decisions.
More background and examples about re-framing can be found at Framing The Problem.
What problem can you look at right now and reframe what you think about it? What new solutions does that create?