Cognitive Reframing is the ability to transform negative thoughts into more positive ones, by consciously managing your emotional response to a challenge.
For big wave surfers, the ability to reframe challenges is critical if they are looking to build a career. Mark Mathews is one such individual, a big wave surfer based on the Gold Coast in Australia.. His remarkable story is covered in detail in our book, Wild Success, and here we share one example.
The second wave of the day is much chunkier than the first. Mark doesn’t like it & attempts to escape. “I try to dive off early to avoid a wipeout. The wave picks me up and slams me feet first into the reef.”
The force of the blow dislocates his knee, fractures his shin, ruptures his cruciate ligaments & rips through his artery. He is immediately airlifted to a hospital 200 miles away, where doctors fear the worst.
“I was in pain all day, every day in hospital” he says. Then he had a visit from a young boy named Jason, who had been a surfer himself & had heard on social media that Mark Mathews, a hero of his, was in the same hospital. “He rolled into my room in an electric chair,” says Mark, his voice quiet now, “the kid ... he was just a kid ... he was in a wheelchair. He was quadriplegic. He broke his neck mountain biking.” A switch flipped in Mark.
Here’s our first tip on developing your own cognitive reframing:Start small & practice: Reframe a negative situation from a setback to a learning experience.