Perspective is the lens through which we see the world. It informs what we make the situations and circumstances around us mean in the context of our lives. I realize I’m not writing a book report here, but the dictionary definition of “perspective” comes in handy: “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” Our attitude or point of view affects everything. If we look at something in a positive light, it becomes a positive experience. This is why our thoughts create our reality. If you can think of a situation or problem from a different perspective, you can bring different results to your life. It’s really that simple: change your perspective to change your life.
Often, we get asked to put ourselves in someone else’s position. That is easier said than done, but more importantly, often unhelpful. We can never really know how someone else is feeling or what they’re going through. To some extent, it will always be colored by our own thoughts and feelings that creep in. But what you can easily do is put yourself in your own position, just another perspective. Let me explain.
Remember your core values? Each value can offer a different perspective in how you view a situation.
The steps for changing your perspective are simple.
- Think of one of your values
- Embody that value – really get into the skin of it. You are living from a place of being completely true to that value. How do you feel? How would you act? What types of things would you say?
- Now, consider how you view your issue from that perspective of embodying your value.
- Repeat through the lens of a different value.
- Consider which of these perspectives best serve you. Which one makes you feel the best?
- Congratulations! You now have a new perspective you can consider. Best of all, it came entirely from within.
Here’s a concrete example to pull this all together
My family was coming over for the first time in a long time and they were going to visit during my birthday. I wanted some killer plans to create the memories of a lifetime and make the most of our time together. I also wanted to plan something everyone would love. Talk about pressure. Time for a different perspective.
First, I considered my value of spontaneity. Embodying that value, I would forget about making plans until my family actually got here and then we would go with the flow. Second, I considered my value of boldness. Embodying boldness, I would pick something, trust that it would all work out, and stop worrying. Lastly, I considered honesty. Embodying this value, I would tell everyone I was struggling with choosing an activity and ask for help.
After trying on each of these perspectives for size, I realized what would serve me most and what felt most aligned was to embrace spontaneity – so that’s what I did. I let go of my stress and tapped into my spontaneous side. And boy, did that free me up to actually enjoy my birthday.
Now obviously, this is not a crazy or heavy problem, or depending on who you ask, really a “problem” at all. I will say it’s an example of how you can incorporate perspective work into any situation — big or small — to pull yourself out of a funk.