Repeatedly pressing the pedestrian crossing button is all the power we have over traffic lights, we can’t convince the clouds to part to reveal sunny skies, and we can’t control whether someone speeds up to walk in front of you then inexplicably slows down (WHY?!). If someone has a negative opinion of us, we may be able to persuade them to change their minds but we can’t force them to. What we can control is how we react to the things that happen TO us and how we choose to view it.
Perception can have a seismic effect on our lives. We can choose how to interpret the events that occur in our day-to-day instead of being prey to them. To master your mind and overcome perceptions that have become habitual reactions may seem like an intimidating feat of Herculanean proportions but that’s not necessarily the case.
You know how if you take a couple steps to the right, the world looks the same but and yet the perspective is completely different? Minor adjustments to how you view occurrences can massively shift your perception and result in liberating you from a lot of burdensome negativity that you weren’t even aware was piling up on your figurative shoulders.
Here are 6 Ways to Adjust Perception that Will Improve Your Every Day:
1/ LINKED, NOT RANKED
Nowadays – especially with the rise of social media – we are prone to comparing ourselves and seeing how we measure up, and self-flagellating if we feel like we’ve somehow fallen short. We’ve conjured an atmosphere of competition (where there isn’t any) which breeds antagonism, eliminates the feeling of unity, and diminishes the collaborative spirit.
We are each on our own paths, running parallel, not cutting each other off. How can we possibly compare our progress against one another when we have different goals/values/desires? Take comfort when we are the same and celebrate how our differences define our unique and separate selves because one person’s success doesn’t detract from your own.
2/ DOING NOTHING IS SOMETHING
The more connected we become, the more the lines between work and play blur. We wear our packed schedules and refusal to let ourselves relax completely like a badge of honour, validating our own self-importance. Modern technology has removed the barriers standing between us and productivity so we feel guilty when we’re not (productive).
Allowing ourselves the time and space to do absolutely nada – like Netflix (no chill…unless you want to) or indulge in a mini spa night – is the BEST use of your time because you are taking care of yourself. Doing “nothing” can sometimes be a whole lot more effective than doing many somethings.
3/ VALUE IS INHERENT
Who doesn’t like being on the receiving end of an effusive compliment? Who can deny the thrill of seeing something you posted garnering likes and follows? Only liars and people who’s hearts are made of stone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with basking in the glow of the admiration of others UNLESS that is where you’re deriving all of your sense of self worth.
Understand that as a human being, you are inherently valuable. It is not dependent on the opinion of others or your achievements – it does not come from the external – but conversely what is inborn in your existence. Do not look to others to assign your worth to you.
4/ WORRY IS SUPERSTITIOUS
A lot of fear stems from the unknown. We try to anticipate the many ways things can play out and prevent possible consequences. While worry may make you more aware and therefore allow you to prevent some negative outcomes, shit happens (so eloquent, eh?).
If you knew that it was inevitable that you’d get what you want and need, would you live your life differently? Would you enjoy your day more, without incessant overthinking? Worrying doesn’t change anything other than it ensures that you suffer twice if what you fear DOES come to pass and you suffer at all if it doesn’t. Don’t fret until you HAVE to!
5/ INTENTION IS KEY
While our fight-or-flight instincts were essential to survival back when the phrase “eat or be eaten” could be taken literally, they haven’t adjusted to modern day. Without Jurassic Park-esque predators prowling the streets, our impulse drives us to perceive offence from something as innocuous as someone trundling along at a snail’s pace in front of you. Sidewalk rage is a thing.
Perceiving offence over mundane, every day actions is the quickest way to reach your daily quota of negativity, so it’s important to consider intention. Generally, people may do things that annoy you but it’s rarely deliberate. Remind yourself that they don’t MEAN to offend you in order to let it go.
6/ OPEN HEART SURGERY
It took Thomas Edison a thousand tries (and failures) to invent the lightbulb. He is probably where the hashtag #TheStruggleIsReal originated from. Attempting something that can have you flailing and failing which is an uncomfortable sensation that can tempt you to quit prematurely.
It may not feel good but struggling and failure is just stepping stones towards success. If you stopped halfway through open heart surgery, it’d look like a scary (bloody) mess but it’s supposed to look like that. Remind yourself that stumbling here and there doesn’t mean you’re off-track because it’s just part of the process.