One of my favorite books – introduced to me by my wonderful sister-in-law, Michelle, is The Noticer, by Andy Andrews. The main emphasis in this book is how by changing your perspective, your life can change for the better and you can help positively impact the lives of others as well.
In the book, Andy talks about looking at things differently, looking for things in ordinary situations that others wouldn’t see. This is key to you finding success in business, in personal relationships, and in life in general. He has a follow up to that book, The Noticer Returns, that deals with a fresh perspective on raising your children, too – I would highly recommend both of these books.
This topic, perspective, reminds me of those pictures that you see floating around on social media from time to time where, depending on how you see it, or what you have been told in advance, you see one of two things in the same picture. It’s the “do you see an old lady or a young woman in the same picture?” Or as of late, do you see a dress that is black and blue or one that is white and gold. You also see perspective that is forced on you in movies like The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings where a normal sized man looks like he is much smaller, because of the perspective by which the scene was shot. And one that I enjoy looking at is various artists that you see online who manipulate your perspective with sidewalk chalk art. They all make your brain spin a little.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
Maybe it’s looking at a situation that has been frustrating you for a long time – taking a step back and a fresh look at it from a different perspective. Maybe it is looking at people that you have seen all your life, but from a new perspective, with a new purpose. John Steinbeck said, “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.” Maybe it’s noticing them for the first time and how you can impact their lives.
Perspective Is In Your Head
Perspective is an attitude. It’s a change of mind.
Perspective About Personal Happiness – The reason so many people find it hard to be happy in life is that they always see the past better than it was and the present worse than it is. It’s a matter of perspective. What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it’s “supposed to be.” Whatever that means.
Perspective About Possessions – How can two people have the exact same possessions, but feel completely different about their current situation? The possessions and the current circumstances are seen through a different lens. Maybe the one person who lives in suburban America says, “I don’t have enough.” The other person, who lives on a couple of dollars a day in a small village where people are happy to have a roof of any kind over their head, could be presented with the same situation and think that they are is insanely rich with way more than they will ever need. They would say, “I have too much!” It’s all a matter of perspective.
Perspective About Our Marriage – Marriage is largely a mental exercise. Your marriage can be great or horrible all in the same day – depends on your mood, which is controlled by your mind, which is controlled by your perspective. I am more and more convinced that my marriage is 100% dependent upon my perspective of my spouse – my personal positive illusion. I can control my perspective and that’s what I need to work on in my marriage. It’s all about perspective.
Life Events Change Our Perspective
C.S. Lewis said, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” Time is a great perspective giver. We always say, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Meaning that once you go through a circumstance or come out on the other side of something and look back – then you can see clearly – a different perspective. Things we are going through right this minute, 20 years from now will seem so different – thanks to time’s perspective.
Sometimes we surrender complete control of our perspective to major life changes or life events. I would urge you to not wait for large life events to change your perspective. Be in control of your life as much as you can.
Usually our perspective change is only temporary when manipulated by a life event anyway…
- 9/11 – Remember how patriotic you felt after that event? Remember how in-love the whole country was with our police force after that event? What’s changed? Have you seen the news lately? Not so in-love with our police force right now as a country, are we? Our patriotism was temporary.
- Death of a loved one – Have you noticed how much we focus on the brevity of life after a funeral, especially for someone we were close to, and even more especially if they died “before their time.” That’s probably one reason that Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7 says that, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting.” But, again, this increased focus on how short life is and how important every day is, lasts for a short time.
- Near-death experience – Have you ever had a near-death experience where maybe you hesitate just long enough at an intersection to not get hit by the guy that runs a red light. It changes your perspective for a little while doesn’t it? For how long though? Usually just a day or two.
- Divorce – When your spouse walks in and says, “I want a divorce,” it changes your perspective real quick doesn’t it? You start to see things in a different light. You think about things the two of you could have done differently. Maybe you start to think about some of the warning signs that you missed, because you just didn’t have the right perspective. Another life event that can quickly change how we see the world.
But with the majority of life changing events – the perspective change is temporary, maybe because it was forced on us.
Don’t let life change your perspective temporarily. You change your perspective and in turn change your life permanently.
Everyday Fresh Perspective
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer
Change the way you look at things…
- Email isn’t a chore – it’s an opportunity to connect, to brighten someone’s day
- Cleaning up after kids, washing clothes, washing dishes – these seem like a negative, but with the proper perspective you realize how fortunate you are that you can do these things, that you have children, that you have a washing machine, etc.
- Traffic isn’t a frustration – it’s a great time to catch up with friends on the phone or to listen to audio books, to pray, or to dream
- Homework with the kids or Bible lessons with the kids – can be things we want to rush through and almost seem like an annoyance, but with the proper perspective you realize they are a great time to connect with your children and can be used to teach them some valuable life lessons
Bob Marley says that, “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” It’s all a matter of perspective.
Every day is a do-over. You control your perspective. You control your life.