Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Power of Positive Perspective

How do you stay so positive?  Especially when life presents inevitable challenges and “bad” things happen?  Be it workplace issues or personal struggles, we all have the power to choose how we view each situation we encounter.  The problem?  Most of us don’t realize we have that power.  

This is not to say that some of life’s experiences are not more pleasant or more dreadful than others.  Instead, it is to say that the same situation can be viewed in many different ways; and how we choose to view it has a profound and compelling impact on how we feel about that situation and how it affects us.   Some examples:

Say you find yourself stuck in traffic after a meeting runs long.  Instead of bemoaning that you’re now even further off schedule, be thankful that the delay put you 20 minutes behind that potential car wreck, instead of in it.  Perhaps that meeting saved your life.  Instead of frustration, this change in perspective can leave you feeling relieved, grateful or simply at peace with your circumstances.

Or ask yourself how you might feel about having your flight to work with a new client cancelled.  Are you worrying your client may choose to find a local resource?  Or choosing to see this situation as an opportunity to encourage the client to Skype with you?  The latter could make scheduling future work together easier and would be cost-effective for the client – possibly enhancing the opportunity for a longer and deeper collaboration.   

These two examples shed light on two specific ways to manage perspective, by making a shift in thinking.

Focus on the positive aspects/alternatives as in the situation with the cancelled flight, and choosing to see new options and the long-term benefits they present.

Consider the avoidance of a negative incident or experience (as with the traffic).

This adjustment in perspective is a choice you make.  It means stopping your knee-jerk reaction and processing alternative ideas.  And, you’ll find, the more often you make this shift, the easier and more natural it becomes.  

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