When you change the frame you change the game

I’m guessing most people have seen a painting by Leonardo da Vinci called the Mona Lisa. 

Can you picture it in your mind now?

Now imagine seeing the Mona Lisa in a pink frame with bright flashing lights.

It has an impact on how you view the picture, doesn’t it?

And yet interestingly, the picture didn’t change. Just the frame.

I’m challenged to reflect on this idea when I think of the impact of the pandemic, and particularly its effect on young people.

Some parts of the media frame the narrative of the experience for young people with phrases such as ‘the wasted year,’ ‘a lost generation,’ ‘missing out on opportunity,’ and ‘irreparable damage.’

It’s as if news editors have all morphed into Frazer, the Scottish character from Dad’s Army.

Remember his catchphrase?

‘We’re doomed!’

(If you’re of a certain age you may need to search for him on YouTube.)

The fact is what we and young people have experienced has been incredibly challenging – I don’t deny that.

But that’s not the whole story, and neither is the future we all face set in stone as a fait accompli.

Here’s the deal.

The future isn’t a place we get to, it’s a place we get to create.

And how we frame our present helps create a picture of our future.

Have the last twelve months been awful? Yes. But have they also provided examples of inspiration, compassion, innovation, adaptability, and opportunity?

Have they also given people a chance to reflect and reassess their priorities and what is truly important to them? Absolutely. 

If we frame the future as one of desperation and doom, we risk causing as much damage to our mental health and that of our young people as the pandemic itself.

I’m not preaching a gospel of naivety or blind optimism, but if we’re to take good from the bad, and hope from the hurt, we need the courage to change and the willingness to collaborate in a way we have never done before.

This generation can be shaped in a positive way through all we’ve gone through. But whether that happens or not depends on how we frame the experience.

Just remember:

When you change the frame, you change the game.

Until next time


The SUMO Guy

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