Dictionary.com defines perspective as “A particular attitude toward or way of referring to something; a point of view.” Each of us has a different perspective shaped by our past experiences. One reason why solid facts don’t win over people is because their personal experiences, when filtered through their perception, tell them something is not true.
Perspective can also work the other way, in your favor. It can tell you not to listen to naysayers or bad advice. It can help you cope with tragedy and stress. Perspective can even guide your instincts for dealing with personal relationships.
Where Does it Come From?
At any point in time, we are only consciously aware of a small fraction of our decisions and perceptions. The subconscious mind accounts for everything else. It is made of all our memories and all the things we hear, smell, see, touch, and taste. When you make a split-second decision, good or bad, the subconscious mind was the driving force.
When we feel some way about something, we justify it with some string of logic. The real reason we felt that way, however, was due to our past experiences filtered by our subconscious mind. This powerful force delivers the lens in which we see the world. It delivers our perception.
Create Your Own Reality
Some people argue that you cannot control your decisions, that your subconscious and conscious mind are both the result of measurable chemical reactions in the brain and elsewhere in your body. Bacteria too, drives many decisions made by living organisms. These people would say your perception is fixed and there’s nothing you can do about it.
However, the fact remains that we make choices every day. We can also learn and make better choices. In this same way, we can work to harness and expand our perception to gain more clarity. Negative perspectives don’t serve you, plain and simple. Positive perspectives create a more positive reality.
Negative and Positive Perspective
Everyone’s heard the glass half empty vs glass half full analogy, but it is a good demonstration of a pessimistic vs optimistic perspectives. People who walk around every day thinking that society is rigged and that they will always alone tend to live in that reality. People who truly believe that the world is what you make it and that hard work pays off tend to live in that reality.
It takes practice to change from a negative perspective, but it all starts with a choice. Then you have to keep making that choice to have a positive perspective in life.
How to Change Perspectives
So perspective is powerful. Great! How do we change ours?
The first step is to change our routine. Life comes down to habit and the only way to change ourselves is to change our habits. Simple changes, like taking a new way to work, will open up your mind so that you pay more attention. When you are caught in a rut, everything seems boring because you don’t have to pay attention to it.
Bigger habit changes such as prioritizing sleep and eating right will give your body the energy it needs to see the world positively. You’ll also be less cranky and more alert. Cultivating a routine that works is key for a healthy life.
An important mental habit to change is the way we look at adversity. When things go wrong, we can curl up into a ball and cry, or we can see it as an opportunity to grow. Saying “I can’t” shuts our brain down. Saying “How can I do it?” makes our brain start working.
You are not stuck in your perception. If the way you see things is not serving you, try a new one!