Perspective gives us the ability to accurately contrast the large with the small, and the important with the less important. Without it we are lost: we cannot differentiate, we cannot prioritize, and we cannot make good choices. John Sununu
How many times have you been overwhelmed with tasks and problems, and didn’t know where to start or how to find a solution, feeling suddenly blocked? In my experience, more than I would have liked. However, with time, I learned that perspective is a really powerful tool, and when used correctly, it can put each problem in the place it belongs, and give it the attention it deserves.
Now, let’s break this down into simpler words.
Putting perspective to work for us
- Don’t let the tree in front of you block the forest. If you get too focused on the details of the problems you have, you might get trapped in a labyrinth with no exit. Try looking at your problem from a more objective perspective, see the bigger picture, and break it down with questions, for e.g. “What are the direct consequences of this problem I have?”; “Why do I feel the way I feel about this problem?”; “What are the possible solutions?”; “What are the other things going on in my life that I cannot do effectively because I am investing too much time in this problem? Is it worth it? Should my energy be invested in another place?”
- You are not that special. Whatever is happening to you, is also happening to plenty of others at the same time, and has already happened to millions of people. “Why me?”, “What did I do wrong”, “I don’t deserve this”. No matter what the answer of those questions are, they will not change the problem you are facing. However, if you change perspective, and accept the problems as plain problems — not unique problems for you, but also common problems for plenty others — then any problem will be easier to swallow and looking with an outsider view will be easier.
- You are in control of the problem’s magnitude. Imagination is mankind’s greatest gift, but can also be its worst enemy. We cannot control most of the events that occur in our life, but we can control how we react and feel about them. Whenever you feel like a problem is taking all of our energy and head-space, most probably our imagination is playing with us, and we might fall deep into the most negative and conflicting scenarios, leaving little space to steer the wheel and think clearly. Instead, when feeling overwhelmed, breath deeply (several times), break the problem in different parts, and think about all the other things going on in your life. Put your problem in context, and look at it as an outsider. Imagine new ways of tackling it, and using creativity in your favor, you will start making new neural networks that might help you solve the problem or at least look at it in a completely different way. This will help react and feel much better about the problem afterwards.
Think about those things that really matter to you and make you happy, and put more time into them.
Many times when stuck in daily routine problems, or even bigger life challenges, we might lose sight of what really matters: the relationship with your family, spending time with your friends, sharing quality time with your parents, and many more others. You might even stop doing things that really make you happy. Phrases such as “I am very stressed, I don’t want to work out today”; “Sorry guys, not in the mood for dinner, next time”; “Too tired to play the guitar” might sound familiar. Don’t let that happen. I spoke about having a support system in times of change in my last post, all these are great levers to put things in perspective. If you take care of things that matter to you and yourself, putting things in perspective will be much easier, problems will decrease in magnitude, and new solutions will eventually come your way.
Hope this helped put things in perspective!