The Importance of Perspective in Our Lives

I Have a Great Life

I have an awesome and healthy family, love my work, nice house, car, etc... Of course there is nothing special about me. Many of the people that I interact with have a pretty similar lifestyle. So then why is that some of the people I know constantly complain about "stuff"? I lump it all into "stuff" because for the most part these problems are usually inconsequential. Many would even be considered First World Problems.

The only way I can describe it is perspective. The ability to gain some altitude and see things from a different point of view, maybe even someone else's point of view.

A friend of mine did a 200 mile bike ride to benefit MS this weekend. He texted me and said that 67 miles in he found himself complaining internally that his legs were hurting. Then he notices a guy resting a few feet away and sees that he only has one arm. Instantly his problem is re-framed and seems MUCH less important. He immediately has an appreciation that he is physically able to participate when many cannot and is amazed that most limits we place on ourselves are superficial.

Notice the key word in the paragraph above - 'seems'. His physical problem didn't get any worse or any better. His leg muscles, full of latic acid, were in the same physical state the moment before and the moment after he notices the one armed rider. But, as though from some miracle, his legs start feeling physically better literally in an instant. It is amazing to me that our mindset and perspective have so much power over what we physically experience.

How To Get More Perspective

There are infinite ways to gain perspective and I don't pretend that this list is exhaustive. Just a small list of things I do or want to do to continue to gain perspective.

  1. Personal Development - I personally starting noticing this behavior in others after getting serious about studying personal development. Tony Robbins and Jim Rohn are a couple of my favorites but there are dozens of authors, speakers, consultants and teachers that have influenced me. I find audio material that I can listen to on my commute is best for me but like to read books and magazines in this space as well.
  2. Community - The company supports some great charities and charitable efforts. We have donated services and computers to charities in the past. My family supports some local charities around the holidays as well. I want to take this to a new level in the future though. I think much more perspective can be gained by getting in the trenches and helping people first hand. I would like to do this professionally and personally.
  3. Open Your Eyes - We all have tunnel vision and get stuck in our patterns. If we intentionally take a look around every once in a while we might see a one armed rider for ourselves.
  4. Ignore The News - I have never been a news junky but I intentionally get a lot less news that I did a couple years ago. I feel like I am better for it. I am reminded of a Jim Rohn snippet I heard in a Success Magazine CD - "I used to start my day with the newspaper reading about murderers and junkies and criminals and can imagine the kind of days I used to have!"
  5. There are so many more - if you have a good one please leave it in the comments.

I hope that all of us can continue to gain perspective in our lives and hopefully this post can play some small part in it.

Tags: perspective, personal development

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