Joni Eareckson Tada coined the familiar quote “perspective is everything…when you are experiencing the challenges of life”. Many inspirational speakers, great authors and everyday people across the ages have talked and written passionately about perspective including Maya Angelou, Albert Einstein, Muhammad Ali, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Aurelius and Ernest Hemingway. So, what is it and why is it so important?
Perspective is essentially the way we see something; it’s how we take in, process and hold information as it’s constantly shifting or changing. Each person on this earth will view a situation differently even if that difference is subtle. Ultimately, what we perceive and what we think affects the way we feel and there’s always more than one perspective!
Dr. Wayne Dyer, internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development, said “If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change”.
Changing perspective is always a choice even though it may not feel like it sometimes! Changing perspective can also be very difficult depending on the situation and other variables such as previous experiences, people involved and the magnitude of the situation.
Every Tuesday morning, I have a play date with the “Garden Gals” to lead a yoga class in one of their backyards. Our usual venue is Fiona’s gorgeous garden, but we were lakeside one morning and Joyous Jolene took a picture of me doing a handstand. When I looked at myself in the picture, I immediately thought about how awesome it is to be upside-down. Inversions are my favourite poses! Then I wondered – how do I see the world when I’m upside-down? Which things look the same and which things look different? Ultimately, I’m seeing the same things but from a whole new perspective.
So, when things in my world get tough, one of my first thoughts is “How do I shift my perspective?” Well, I’ve got a few other options when spending time upside-down just isn’t practical:
-I can take a step back from the situation (zoom out) to consider the bigger picture. This can be literally stepping back and looking at the scene from a whole new vantage point or mentally taking a break and moving my train of thought.
-I can turn my ideas on their head and ask how someone else might see the situation.
-I can remember that things are only impossible until they’re possible; impossible isn’t usually forever.
-I can see if my ego is the one clinging to a particular perspective to avoid change or if it’s somehow playing a part in the situation. If so, I can give my ego a name as a reminder that my ego is not in charge and not running the show. This also helps me become a witness to my ego’s thoughts instead of a victim of my ego’s thoughts.
How can you change your perspective today?