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Reflect and Reframe

artistic-brainWe all know people who are well educated but somehow aren’t very smart. We also know people without much formal education who are quite wise. So, it’s obvious that it’s not just what we learn in school that makes us smart. It’s more about how we use our mind and live our life.

To live life with a high degree of competence, it’s essential to frequently reflect and reframe.


When we reflect on our experiences of the day, we don’t let what happened just wash over our bodies, touching only the surface. Rather, we consciously reflect on what happened. We are aware of what we felt and thought. We notice how we responded. We notice how others responded to us. We search for meaning and understanding.

We may seek feedback from others. By understanding how they think, we enlarge our perspective, acquiring hints as to how we might do better in the future.

Reflection takes time. We need time to consider, ponder, wonder, contemplate, meditate. We need time to discuss a problem, contemplate an idea, put our thoughts to paper, record our dreams, immerse ourselves into whatever subjects pique our curiosity. Then, and only then, will we become smarter and more enlightened.

But who has time to reflect? We’re often so busy that we just move on to our next “have to,” then wonder why we’re feeling so anxious, so tired, so alienated from life.


Reframing is putting a new and different “frame” or interpretation on what happened to us. Viewing a situation in a new light allows us to achieve a fuller understanding of the event.

If you often find yourself lamenting your bad breaks or personal troubles, it’s helpful if you can look for opportunities for personal growth that these events might offer. With reframing, even tragic events such as death, illness, or divorce may eventually be viewed as a time and opportunity to develop strength of character and courage.

Without the ability to reframe, you are more likely to remain stuck experiencing events in the same old painful way. You won’t learn from them if you simply continue to view them as disappointments, mistakes, and failures.

So, if you’d like to become smarter, (or help your child to do so), be sure to set aside quiet time to reflect on your day and reframe your experience, with the aim of understanding something new about yourself, your interactions and life in general.


“Begin challenging your own assumptions.
Your assumptions are your windows on the world.
Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.”

Alan Alda

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