Perspective Shift-The Power to Change Your Mind: There's a Well-Known Adage That Perception Is Reality. How We See Something Becomes Our Truth, Which Can Sometimes Be Self-Limiting

By David, Linda M. | Talent Development, November 2011 | Go to article overview

Perspective Shift-The Power to Change Your Mind: There's a Well-Known Adage That Perception Is Reality. How We See Something Becomes Our Truth, Which Can Sometimes Be Self-Limiting


David, Linda M., Talent Development


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Every day in both our professional and personal lives, we face challenges, decisions, and situations that cause our stress levels to escalate. The ability to step back and take a different view is a crucial skill for our time. What if by changing our perspective on situations that upset, challenge, or frighten us, we could be happier, more confident, and less stressed? Carrying negative viewpoints saps our energy; it weighs us down both mentally and spiritually. Imagine how you could use that energy in other ways.

Perceptions are influenced by a number of factors: experience, personal values, judgments, information (as well as lack of information), and our needs and desires. Yet, it is possible to expand our perception of situations, events, and behaviors by changing our perspective. Changing perspectives is relatively simple, but not necessarily easy. To some extent it is what an enlightened friend of mine called "a trick of the mind."

The concept of shifting perspectives is a tool that will give you a wider view of most situations you encounter and, with practice, expand the options for how you perceive your world. Research has shown that positive attitudes produce brain chemicals that give us a lift. You'll naturally be calmer and more relaxed when your perspectives shift to a more positive viewpoint.

Perspectives 101

What is a perspective? One of the definitions offered by the World English Dictionary is "the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it." How do we know if our perspective is proper or accurate? I believe that the answer is in the pain quotient. If holding that particular perspective is causing pain, distress, or anxiety, something is clearly amiss in how we are viewing the situation--or viewing ourselves in relation to the situation.

In her book, It's Easier Than You Think, author Sylvia Boorstein explains the practice of Buddhism in layperson's terms. She captures the First Noble Truth of Buddhism this way: "Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional." What this means is that by accepting the truth that pain is inherent in life because there is always change, and the loss that goes with change, we can free ourselves to experience life in all its many facets. And we also can free ourselves from suffering if we are willing to stop struggling and accept what is. This is not an easy task; rather, it is an ongoing quest that requires a major shift in perspective.

Think of a time in your life when you were suffering over something: perhaps unfair criticism from a boss, or loss of a friendship, or death of a loved one. What happened to make the suffering lessen and eventually end? Most likely over the course of time you came to a different view (perspective) of the situation. Perhaps you realized that the criticism had a ring of truth and you were able to use it to make a positive change. Or you saw that the friendship you lost had not been at the level you wanted or needed, and were able to accept that it was over. Even in the death of a loved one we can find solace by changing our perspective that although the person is gone he remains in our cherished memories. The oft quoted cliche that time heals all wounds is, in essence, a statement about how perspectives change over time. It is possible to accelerate this process by conscious action.

Tricking the mind

The World English Dictionary offers another definition for perspective that fits well with the concept of tricking our minds to see things differently: "a view over some distance in space or time; vista; prospect." Imagine that you are standing at the top of a tall mountain. What do you see before you? Perhaps you see blue sky above, snow on the distant peaks, and a valley far below where everything looks tiny.

Now shift your view to standing in the valley looking around the lush greenery and then up at the mountain. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Perspective Shift-The Power to Change Your Mind: There's a Well-Known Adage That Perception Is Reality. How We See Something Becomes Our Truth, Which Can Sometimes Be Self-Limiting
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.