Change Your Perspective – It May Change Your Life

Every minute of every day, we are taking in information about the world around us, making judgements about what we experience. And the way we understand the world is unique to each of us, which means we all have different perspectives on the world.

“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.”
– Douglas Adams

We make judgements and assumptions all the time, most of all about ourselves, whether we realise it or not. Quite often, especially as we grow up, our perceptions can become subconscious because they have become learned patterns of thought or behaviour. We can develop patterns that support us to do well in life and that’s fine, until we feel stuck or apparently unable to see past our own view of things – what do we do then?

Sometimes, we develop ways of thinking and being that can hold us back. We all have that “inner voice” that pops up at times of uncertainty or challenge and says things like….. stick to your own opinion – you know what’s best! make this (safe) choice, not that (stretching) one! …….and the list goes on.

Sometimes, you may think you don’t know what to do for the best, that you don’t have a choice at all or just can’t take a risk. It’s easy to get stuck in your own mindset and only see the world the way you want to see it – yet one person’s challenge might be another person’s opportunity.

What if you could be rid of your well-worn perceptions and assumptions and take a completely different perspective? What if you could change your outlook and be emboldened to take an entirely different approach? How could that change your life?

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer

Changing your perspective could offer you a whole new way of seeing, thinking and feeling about yourself and others. Changing your perspective could open up a whole new world of possibilities and ideas.

You may think you can’t do something, but maybe you can, if only you could look at the challenge or problem in a different way.
The fact is that if you feel like you’re stuck in the wrong job or doing something you truly don’t want to do, you’re the only one who can choose to do something about it. If you feel lonely or bored, you’re the one who needs to take action to change that – and you can!

If you really want to change something in your life, then changing your perspective is a powerful tool to enable you to achieve what you want. The key to changing your perspective is to remember what your goal is – focus on what you’re aiming for and what you need to do to get what you want.

That’s what I did when I resigned my full-time, steady job, to focus on becoming a coach. I knew I wouldn’t achieve my goal unless I took that step of leaving my comfort zone and step into something new. I chose to assume a new perspective – that I could do it, that it wouldn’t be scary, that I would be successful, that I’d enjoy learning from the mistakes instead of shying away from them – and it took some courage on my part to let go, but I got there.

How do you change your perspective? Here are some ideas….

How you choose to frame something affects how you react to it.

When the driver in the car in front of me is driving slowly and holding me up, I can choose to get frustrated or, consider that there may be a very good reason why she is driving slowly. Perhaps the driver has recently passed her test so is being cautious; perhaps she’s lost and carefully looking for the next turn she needs to take; or perhaps she isn’t feeling very well and is slowing down to find a place to pull over. How can I actually know? I’m not her but I do know that I feel much better reframing that moment from a place of consideration rather than frustration.

Similarly, if you are faced with a situation in life and you just can’t see a way through, these questions can help you to reframe your thinking:

• How would you deal with this if you were a younger version of yourself, an older version of yourself or role model whom you admire?
• What would you do differently now, if you knew you absolutely wouldn’t fail?
• What would you do now, if you were already the person you want to be?

Change your posture, your position or your environment
Sometimes a simple physical change is all that’s needed to see things from a different point of view.

• Do you always choose the same train carriage or seat when commuting to work? Sit somewhere different next time and look at yourself and your situation from that perspective.
• Do you have a daily routine that you can adjust or completely flip around? Try it – what’s that like? What felt different, because something will!

A change in habit, posture or position can completely change how you feel and think about something.

Step back from your situation and look more broadly at the context – what does that tell you?

Step back and see the bigger picture –

This is a link to an award-winning television advert for a UK newspaper – The Guardian – broadcast in 1986. It’s a very effective depiction of how seeing the bigger picture presents a different point of view:

Discuss your situation with others to get their perspectives; listen to what they say
What if you could get better at appreciating others’ points of view?

Everyone will have a perspective that differs in some way to yours and may have something to teach you. It’s often helpful to hear what others have to say. Listening is the backbone to great communication; listening and then discussing others points of view with an open mind will support you to inform and change your perspective.

Change your language
The language we use to describe a situation can be very powerful in supporting a well-worn perspective; certain words can reinforce patterns of thought and behaviour that limit our self-belief.

As a coach, I often challenge my clients to listen to the language they are using and notice the impact. A common example is when a client talks about what she doesn’t like, doesn’t want, cannot do, rather than consciously focusing on what she does like, does want and can do – it makes a huge difference to how she views a situation if I challenge her to flip her language from the negative to the positive.

Always assume a positive intention
If we always assume that others are acting with negative intentions, then the world can start to feel negative too. It’s easier – and feels better – to assume that people generally act with positive intentions. My husband doesn’t stack the dishwasher in that way to deliberately annoy me; my cleaner didn’t put the brand new red cushion cover into the washing machine with the brand new white sheets on purpose. Stuff happens! Don’t let it consume you – and take charge of your feelings by choosing to let the negative perspective go.

Perspective is everything
Things are not what they are; they are what we think they are and what we compare them to.

If you are in a situation you want to change or are facing a tricky decision and aren’t sure what to do, consider how changing your perspective on that challenge could completely change your point of view – and potentially change your outlook on life.