The frame game: life presents challenges. Obstacles and difficulties appear in life like clouds appear in the sky. 

When we’re dealing with life’s challenges; we have limited control of external factors. 

What we do have control of is our internal factors. We have control of how we respond. 

How we respond is dependent on the frame in which we put our life events.

The following challenge is designed to use reframing techniques to limit our suffering and build up our psychological immune system.

The Frame Game Challenge:

Below is a list of frames in which we can put life’s events. Bring up a challenge that you have experienced in the past. Whether it’s an obstacle, setback, or difficulty. 

  1. Write down the challenge that you are facing.
  2. Choose a frame from the list below. 
  3. Re-write your challenge into the proper frame. 


Competing obligations frame: Use this frame when life seems unfair. Or when you don’t get something you feel you deserve. The competing obligations frame means you’re writing down all the reasons why you couldn’t get what you wanted. Be sure to put yourself in the other persons shoes. Be sure to write down as many possible reasons as to why.

Incompetence frame: use this frame when someone insults you. Incompetence means the person just doesn’t know what they are doing. If someone does something to harm you, write it off as incompetence and don’t take it personally. Remember, we’re doing this to limit our suffering! Use your imagination.

Comedic frame: use this frame when someone does something so ridiculous like running through a red light and almost hitting you. Or when someone grabs the last roll of toilet paper before you.  Seriously, don’t take yourself so seriously. Use it as materials for a good joke.

Storytelling frame: this is for life’s most serious events. Our biggest challenges. Did someone pass away? Are you dealing with heartbreak? This is all a part of our personal story. Each setback is an opportunity for you to overcome animosity. The harder the challenge, the more epic the story.

Pretend each setback is a sentence, paragraph, or for life’s major setbacks, an entire chapter of your autobiography.

Even if you don’t actually write your autobiography, you simply do not know yet! So go ahead, and prepare for your book deal. Use your setback to build you up!

Do you need more info on framing? Check out our full story here.

More resources: William B. Irvine

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