Tag Archives: perspective
Letting go of our old life scripts, bad habits, misassumptions and negative assumptions doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that takes lots of repetition. But nature abhors a vacuum, and so does our brain. It wants to make itself useful by thinking, and it takes the path of least resistance, so it tends to go back to those same old thoughts. That’s why it’s necessary to intervene on your own behalf. You need to train your brain. Yes, train your brain to go down a different track instead of staying on its one-track mind.
So along with letting go, it’s important to put something in place of that old life script. But what? And how do you find it? The answer actually lies in waking up your brain. It has to start looking around at new possibilities, seeing new opportunities, trying new options. And I have begun experimenting with retraining my brain through photography.
With the advent of smart phones, we are all “photographers” of some sort. Who doesn’t take a photo nowadays??? But I’m not just talking about documenting your life. I’m talking about recreating your life. For me, this means using the camera as a therapeutic tool. I’m working on using my camera to learn and practice how to:
- Choose my focus. What am I going to put my attention on at this moment in my life is the same issue as what am I going to focus the camera on. The decision is all mine to make.
- Shift my perspective. If I take a photo from different distances, different heights, different angles, the photo is totally different. The same is true in life. When I shift my perspective, even though nothing in the situation changes, everything is different. Again, I am in charge of my perspective whether through the camera lens or in life.
Here’s a series of photos that I took to look at perspective. As I enjoy taking photos and thinking about perspective, my brain is getting the idea that I am in charge of what it thinks, that I choose its path, and that we are a team, with me being the boss.
Is there a photo you like better? Maybe you don’t like any of them. And that’s OK. You make that decision about a photo. Why not make that decision about your life scripts!
Richard Carlson was only 45 when he died in 2006. Yet his legacy of nearly 20 books lives on. In case you are not familiar with the name, you may be familiar with his bestseller: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff.
Carlson offers a perspective that is radical. His basic tenet is that expending too much energy on solving problems can inflate their importance. The result…life can seem like a constant self-help project at best or like a constant emergency at worst. Instead of focusing on the problem, Carlson suggests a dose of perspective. Ask yourself, “How much will this really matter a year from now?” Your answer will probably be something like, “Probably not as much as I think right now.” The point here is that instead of looking to solve your problems, you can cut them down to size by shifting your perspective. As Carlson writes, “True happiness comes not when we get rid of all our problems, but when we change our relationship to them.”
How can you get some perspective? Here are some ideas:
- Practice patient periods. Choose to be patient. Resolve not to get wound up by what happens. The more you do this, the more you are building up your perspective muscle.
- Imagine your funeral. Looking back on your life, would you wish you had spent more time stressing about minutiae? Probably not! Then why not allow the small stuff to roll off your back, experiencing peace and contentment.
- Let others be right most of the time. Think about this saying, “The world is divided into people who think they are right.” Yes, everyone thinks they are right, so instead of always taking a stand, resist the urge to correct people, thereby reducing tension and conflict.
Carlson recognized that life isn’t all small stuff. He would be the first to admit that when you are blindsided by some sudden shock, such as bereavement, being told to “keep some perspective” is actually counter-productive. In fact, he also wrote a follow-up book entitled What About the Big Stuff? His primary principle is that life’s mostly small stuff, and our perspective determines whether we experience it that way or not.
Interested in learning more about Carlson’s work? Check out the website www.dontsweat.com.
If you’re experiencing the summer heat and/or humidity, give yourself a break. Don’t add to your sweat. Keep your perspective!