Cognitive reappraisal – flipping the script

By Dave Henning / March 6, 2022

“In psychology, cognitive reappraisal is a fancy phrase for telling yourself a different story about what’s happening.  It’s flipping the script by looking at your circumstances from a different vantage point.”- Mark Batterson

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . . the saving of many lives.”- Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

On Day 10 (“Fix Your Focus”) of Do It for a Day, Mark Batterson takes us back to December 1944.  At Bastogne, Belgium, General Anthony McAuliffe and the 101st Airborne Division found themselves surrounded by German troops.  As a result, the German general demanded immediate and unconditional surrender.  However, McAulliffe offered a brief and succinct reply: “Nuts!”

Rather than waving the white flag, Gen. McAulliffe flipped the script.  Thus, he reframed the perspective of his American troops.  Hence, McAuliffe exhorted: “We have the greatest opportunity ever presented an army.  We can attack in any direction.”

Above all, Pastor Batterson counsels, keeping your sense of humor enables you to keep a sense of perspective.  So, when it comes to habit formation, a little humor goes a long way.  Because it’s easier to change yourself when you can laugh at yourself.

Furthermore, Mark notes, Joseph serves as Exhibit A when it comes to cognitive appraisal.  For Joseph looked back at all the ups and downs of his life — betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife — and saw that God intended it for good.

In conclusion, Dr. Martin Seligman observes that all of us possess an explanatory style.  Your default style you use to explain to yourself why events happen.  Most significantly, Mark asserts, it’s those explanations that make or break you.  Not the experiences themselves.

For example, Joseph confronted the brutal facts – his brothers intended to harm him.  But, Joseph failed to lose faith in the end of the story.  He flipped the script with his God’s -eye view.  Joseph’s focus determined his reality.

Today’s question: How do you flip the script through cognitive reappraisal?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Focus determines your reality”

About the author

Dave Henning


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