A cliché reframed can be a revelation

After enough personal reflection and experience, there are few life-changing ideas you haven’t already been exposed to. But there are plenty of slightly different variations of life-changing ideas, and that’s almost the same thing. 

Every person with a brain understands exercise is good for them and that they should do more of it. Just saying “exercise more” is a cliché, easily overlooked. But there exist variations of that cliche that spur someone to actually exercise more, for example:

  • Exercise more for longevity & to de-age your cells
  • Exercise more so you can play with your grandchildren
  • Exercise more because your spouse deserves nothing less
  • Exercise more for mental clarity, or for control of your life, or to boost testosterone etc

A slight change in perspective or framing can have life changing results and make an idea finally land with power. That’s one reason why you should read and write; even if you don’t gain new ideas per say, you gain new perspectives, and that’s almost the same thing.

Twisting words around can have immense influence on how you behave:

“I need to do it one day” vs “I need to do it on a specific day”: If I am to do a lifestyle change, or project, or anything of significance, naturally I need to do it one day. But just saying I’ll do it one day won’t produce action. The project will simply collect dust in a note or to do list somewhere. If I reframe it to I need to do it on a specific day, I realize that the specific day could as well be today, and if I don’t schedule it for a specific day, it never happens. If there ever was a secret sauce for anything I've accomplished in life, it's that I put things in my calendar, and I won't sleep before I complete the things on my cal for that day.

“I need skill” vs “I need attention and patience”: If you see a great piece of wooden furniture, you think you cannot build it because it requires skill you don’t have. But if you reframe what skill is into attention and patience (which we know leads to skill), you realize that maybe you too could build such furniture. Believing you need skill keeps you inactive, believing you merely need attention and patience can propel you to act.

“If I wait another few years before having kids, that means I have less time trying for it” vs “I have less time with my future family”: When you focus on the time between now and say age 35, you think waiting another few years before kids isn’t that consequential, as long as you still have enough time to get kids. But when you reframe to think of your future family, a few years could be the difference between seeing your grandchildren graduate or dying before it, or seeing your grand-grandchildren take their first steps.

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