Monday, October 15, 2012

Perspective: 2 Tips To Broaden Yours

With 22 days before Decision 2012, we are all more than ready for the presidential contest to be over. Regardless which side of the election you fall on, we are all fatigued and ready to move on. One thing I'd love for us to learn from this arduous race, is the value of understanding our own perspective and how it shapes our lives.

Over the life of this blog, there have been no less than 5 posts on the topic of perspective. It is of utmost importance to recognize how our perspective impacts our actions, inaction and so much more.

There have been two debates to date and both times I have scratched my head trying to sort out and reconcile what the pundits, my network and my own perspective has told me about those debates. It is indeed mind numbing as it relates to politics but I challenge - isn't that the case with all areas of our lives?

Success or failure?

Contentment or discontent?

Opportunity or adversity?

There are always pundits in life who pontificate on what makes us successful or not. There will always be opinions on how to be content or even happy versus the alternative. There are countless thoughts on opportunity and adversity.

It all boils down to our individual perspective.

Merriam-Webster defines perspective this way:

a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed perspective
>; also : point of view
b : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance perspective

Know someone who, no matter what happens, believes that the world is "out to get him or her?"

Have you ever met someone who is perpetually positive and upbeat?

Each of these people see their world based on what they are looking for. It plays out in political contests and it plays out in other areas of our lives.

How can you harness the power of what you look for?

Be Open
Not on paper but in real life. Be flexible and ready for where life may take you.  This scary because it requires surrender. Surrender of imagined power over outcomes and people. You have to even let go of your current view of yourself. Sometimes our perspective of ourselves are the biggest thing holding us back from who we can become. Let go of what you know and see what could be. Americans like to say they are open but in reality, we tend to be more myopic about many things versus our global counterparts. Start looking for opportunities to be open - with our kids, our co-workers and (GULP) our spouses. Openness does come naturally to some and to many it leads to discomfort and we tackle that next.

Be Uncomfortable
Yes, embrace discomfort. You know that feeling you get when you are listening to someone from an opposing view expound on their reason for thinking the way they do? It's a sickening "want to retreat immediately" sort of feeling - embrace that and see what happens. That is the same feeling you get when you want to push the envelope on an idea at work or with your partner. If you don't practice it, you'll never do it. In politics, it's insignificant - temporary, no better place to practice embracing discomfort. If you can withstand feeling uncomfortable for a few minutes on a Facebook string with a friend - you will build that muscle for other areas of life where you need it. And you need push through discomfort to do just about anything good in life. What you want in life is really on the other side of the fear in front of you.

Try on these two ideas as you go through the world "looking for" answers. Being open and being uncomfortable will surely clarify your thought process on life. I would not expect this to change your point of view drastically but it will certainly broaden it. Half the battle is understanding that what we know is merely a product of what we look for... And if we can re-think what we look for, who knows what we will find?

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