Reframing the Corona Virus.
Just over 4 years ago now, I sat down on a hard black chair opposite the grey-suited oncologist, Dr Philip.
I had just recovered from a 12-hour ordeal to remove a stomach cancer tumour, which was the size of a Rubik's Cube.
"There is a 10% chance that it will return," he said, rather gravely.
"Shit!" I thought, or probably said out loud, because over 25% of people with that particular cancer don't last more than 5 years once it spreads. In medical terms: it's a nasty bugger.
I sat in a rather stony silence and processed that news for a few seconds.
"Um, Philip," I said. "Wouldn't it be better if you told me I had a 90% chance that it wouldn't return?"
"Yes, I guess so," he agreed.
That's the beauty of reframing. The fact remains the same, but our perception and reaction to it is changed.
Which brings us to the Corona Virus.
Fact is only 2% who get it, die from it. (The mortality rates from usual common flu are around the same, with 10,000 deaths in the USA alone this season, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.)
So let's reframe the Corona Virus: "There is a 98% chance that -- even if do you get it -- you won't die from it."
Feel better now?
I do. Plus I just had scans done which show that, after the 4-year mark, there is absolutely no sign of stomach cancer in my body.
So next time you hear a number, play around with it to see how it looks from a different angle.