Shakespeare’s Quote For Re-Framing Anything

I'm coming to you today all the way from Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London. Now, this is actually a reconstruction of the original Globe Theater which was about 230 meters from here in 1599 when it was built, and then later destroyed in a fire. So this reconstruction was the vision of actor and director Sam Wanamaker.

He dreamed for over 20 years to create this thing. He had a lot of problems to overcome, including fire and building regulations etc, but in 1997 it finally got opened up to the public, and it has the only thatched roof in London since the Great Fire of London in 1666. And it's 100% funded by the public with no government assistance.

And so today's quote comes from the famous playwright William Shakespeare, arguably the best playwright in the English language. He wrote over 38 plays, including ones that I'm sure you're all familiar with such as King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, etc etc.

So, his quote is this:

"Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

How To Re-Frame Any Situation Or Thought

Let's look at the first part of that quote.

'Nothing is either good or bad.' It means that nothing has any intrinsic meaning. So, as an example, if I say to you something like, stock market crash, is that a good event or a bad event? Some people think it's bad because they've got all their money in there, and some people think it's good because they can start picking up specials or bargains.

Waiting in line, is that a good or a bad event? Some people think it's bad because it's a waste of time, but some people think it's good because they get to catch up on a book on Amazon Kindle that they're reading, or something like that.

So, nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

The second part of the quote is, 'thinking makes it so'. It means that there needs to be a human there to think something in order to make it good or bad. It's kind of like when people say, if a tree falls in the woods, does it really make a sound? Well, I would also say that if something happens like for example,  something A crashes into something B, is that good or bad without a human there to make it so?

And this is really foundational to your own learning - and I believe your personal development - to realize that we as human beings, are 'meaning-making' creatures.

We decide if things are good or bad, and we can either make things empowering for us or dis-empowering.

The choice is yours.

So, I'm not saying that you can turn a really bad thing, like killing, or something like that into something good. I'm not saying that at all. But for the other 99% of things that happen in our life, we can ask ourselves this question: What else could this mean? 

So, as an example, public speaking. Is this a fearful event, something you really want to avoid, or can you change the meaning to it being exciting, like catching a roller coaster, or something like that? Carrying groceries home, is this a really laborious thing that you want to avoid, or as guys sometimes do, you turn it into a fun thing like bicep curls, or something like that.

So, I remember a really big example happened to me when I was 31 'cause at the time I was kind of in a crossroads in my life. I didn't really know what I was doing, I was really lost, confused, sad, and  I wouldn't say depressed, but it's depressing, and it's because I had tried so many things in life. I was working in the bank, did IT, worked for Anthony Robbins for two years, did multi-level marketing, and then switched again and decided to do personal training, and switched again and then back to another personal development company, and I just thought to myself, what are we doing, Cham? We're just going around in circles.

And it got worse 'cause I'd look at my friends and I'm like, they've actually got good careers, good money that they're making a good path, and here I am just tinkering with all these things, and doing sales which is like a low level job, personal training which I thought I wasn't really making an impact in people's lives too much as well.

Then I remember asking myself, what else could this mean, just like William Shakespeare said, and I thought, maybe it means that I'm having my mid-life crisis early, so, instead of having it at 45 or 50, I'm having it at 30 years old instead.

And I also drew strength from another quote from Thomas Edison. When a reporter asked him, "You've tried 1,000 ways and failed at making a light bulb. How does that make you feel?" And he said, "It's not that I've failed 1,000 times. I've succeeded in how not to make a light bulb." And I thought, wow, that's pretty good. It's a good change of meaning.

So instead, I chose to give myself that empowering meaning as well, and I chose for it to mean that I've done five ways now how not to have a fulfilling career as well. So, I also would tell myself, we're getting closer. We're getting closer, Cham, to what we actually truly desire doing. Just keep persisting. And that gave me the strength to continue instead of giving up as well.

So, I hope that really helps you a lot. If you've got thoughts on this post, whatever you're thinking right now, just pop it in the message box below, or pop it in the comments section below so I know that you're out there. We can have a two-way conversation. If you liked it, I'd appreciate it if you'd hit the Like button, and if you want to share it and just help others, pay it forward as well, just hit the Share button below.

And, until the next time, just remember, when something seemingly bad happens, just remember Shakespeare's words: There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.


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Read more about: Personal Development

Cham is the CEO and Head of Marketing at Authentic Education since co-founding it in 2009. He is passionate about productivity, empowering people, marketing and is creator of Digital Marketing Made Easy.

He has worked for Anthony Robbins, Chris Howard and Dr John Demartini from "The Secret" and has featured in BRW magazine, News.com.au and newspapers such as Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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