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Progress: The Power of Perspective

“There’s no such thing as bad weather-only the wrong clothes” – Billy Connolly

A few years ago I watched a programme where Will Smith was being interviewed. The interviewer told him that she admired his work and that he was a positive inspiration to so many people. Will Smith stopped, thought about what the interviewer said and replied’ Thank you- thank you very much. But I have to say’ he continued, ‘it’s been easy for me- I’m black’.

When she asked him about this rather extraordinary point of view, he told her that ever since he was a boy, he has made extensive use of the power of perspective. In any situation, he looks for a truthful but highly selective way of thinking that makes him feel positive and gets him excited about making things happen.

Perhaps one of the most important concepts I’ve ever learnt is this:

Your experience of life is primarily affected by the perspective you view it from. Depending upon the meaning we give to situations or events, we will feel and behave differently.

Some people always manage to look at things in a positive way. They have an ability to frame any situation in a way that leaves them feeling empowered and strong. They can take a seemingly negative situation and reframe it to find the positive. For these people the glass is always half full, no matter how empty it may look to the rest of us.

The fact is: everything is relative. When you think one situation is bad, that is because you are comparing it to something you perceive is better.

A Question of Perspective

One of the most powerful framing tools we all use on a daily basis is also one of the simplest- the power of questions.

Questions determine the focus of our perception, as well as the amount of success, love, fear, anger, joy or wonder that we experience on an ongoing basis. A lot of the people I work with feel stuck in their lives because they are continually asking themselves negatively orientated questions.

Consider the question, ‘Why can’t I do this?’ This question assumes that a) there is something to be done and b) you can’t do it.

In order to understand the question, your mind automatically begins to search out all the reasons why ‘you can’t do’ whatever it is you perceive needs to be done. No matter what answer you give, you are accepting the basic premise of the question.

However what if you asked yourself ‘How can I most easily make this work?’ This question presupposes that a) this can work, b) there are a number of ways this can work and c) it can be done easily. These assumptions act as a directional compass and your mind then searches for how to make things work.

Questions direct your focus, and you always get more of what you focus on in life. If your quality of life is poor, examine your inner questions and ask yourself how much more empowering you could make them.

Some examples of common unhelpful questions are:

  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • Why don’t I like myself?
  • Why can’t I get a job?
  • Why can’t I lose weight?

Can you see how asking these kinds of questions can keep you stuck? Now, ask yourself a new question:

How can I ask this in a way that points towards the positive?

Start by asking questions that presuppose the positive, such as:

  • What is the most elegant way I can solve this problem?
  • How many different ways of solving this problem can I come up with?
  • What would make me valuable to any employer?
  • How can I lose weight easily and have fun?

These questions make your brain sort for different information and put you in a different and more resourceful state. If you are not happy with the answer you are getting back, you can either change the question or keep asking until you are. link checker Your brain will keep searching for you until a useful answer is found.

Your 10 day challenge

Rather than tips this week, I decided that a 10 day challenge would be a great way to fully understand and implement the power of perspective and the power of questions.

So for the next ten days, I invite you to raise your awareness of the questions you are asking yourself. Note whether it is positively directed or negatively directed. If it is negatively directed, I want you to practice looking at it from another perspective- to do this; you need to reframe your thinking and ask yourself empowering questions.

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Decouvertes

Until next time,

Love and Respect,