Frame of Reference and Personality Development

What is a frame of reference?

Worried about how fast or slow or even thinking not moving at all in life? Sometimes feels that moving backward when looking into others? Is these feelings are exactly correct or not? In this note I try to explain the importance of understanding the criteria to observe our life. Particularly, I discuss about the frame of reference in which we observe our life.

We start with defining frame of reference. The frame of reference is a frame from we could describe something. This I took from physics, we all study this in school days in our physics class, so let us start with a physics example.

Example from Physics

Consider an example of a person is sitting inside the car and the car is moving with a speed of 80 km/hr. If we observe from ground we say that man is moving with a speed of 80 km/hr with respect to the road. Here the frame of reference is road or ground. Now if we are also inside the car, then we say that the man is not moving with respect to the car. That is he is sitting inside the car without moving. He is at rest. The frame of reference here is car. Now by sitting inside the car and look a tree outside which moves 80 km/hr towards backward, this is at rest with respect to ground. Observe different cases; physics says that motion can only be explained with respect to a frame of reference. This is very clear from the example that what we observe is not exactly same when we observe it in another frame of reference. So when we describe a motion, we should first determine which frame of reference we want to observe the movement.

Win or Loss

Everybody wants to win in their life. Now the question arise is that ‘win’ also depends on the frame of reference? The answer is “Yes”. For understanding this, let us assume a football match between one school team in India with national team of Brazil. Who will win, we say surely Brazil national team. Now let Brazil national team won the match by 1 – 0 goal!. I am asking you one more question “who will celebrate?”. My answer is surely school team in India. Why? Because they restricted Brazil national team to score only one goal! There appears the frame of reference. Technically (I am calling Technical frame of reference) Brazil national team won but not up to the expected margin (I am calling expected frame of reference).

A case of Finance

In finance we say as risk increases the expected return also increases. This is clear that we change the frame of reference with respected to the expected risk. We will not accept a lower return investment if it is having high risk. The project will be rejected by considering it as a negative net present value.

Choosing our frame of reference

Thus in all the cases the frame of reference is important. Choosing correct frame of reference is a difficult task. In physics questions, choosing some frame of reference will simplify the problem. In the same way life problems may also be simplified in some frame of reference. Thus choose a correct frame of reference to simplify the problems is important. Thus a successful life may be a failed one in another frame of reference and vice versa.

When we talk about our life, the main components which decide the frame of reference are expectation, ambition and choices. There may be other components which affects the frame of reference to you, remember it depends on person and situation. So it is important to understand your components for frame of reference and choose the correct one for you.


It is not good to choose a frame of reference which shows you success, but actually you are failed in most other frame of references. It is also not good to choose a frame of reference which shows you are always failure. So I suggest you to choose an appropriate frame of reference which helps you to improve and be successful in life. I wish all of you a successful life.


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