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4 Things You Can Do Right Now to Change Your Perspective and Live a Better Life

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To everything in life, there’s always a positive and a negative side. The thing is, it’s so damn easy to focus on one over the other. Some of us tend to focus too much on the negative side – as you know, it’s usually easier to forget the positive over the negative.

But here’s the good news: you get to choose which side you want to focus on! It’s simply a matter of shifting your perspective or, in other words, shifting your thoughts.

Here are 4 things you can do to help shift your perspective:

1. Focus on the lesson not the issue

Easier said than done, right? Well if you’re reading this article to begin with, you are ready to embrace change. We all go through good and bad experiences along the road. We are either in control of them or not. But the necessary thing to remember is that, every experience is a good experience.

The key is to finding the silver lining. Once you know this, it is fully your responsibility to do so. Now, I’m not saying all experiences have positive aspects, but it’s what you think or make of them that matters the most.

There is always an opportunity to evolve.  If you look a bit closer, you will find a way to positivity more often than you think. Let me give you an example.

It’s a little personal, but it proves exactly what I’m trying to explain. I got diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder three years ago. Long story short, once I knew, instead of telling myself, “I’m a total emotional wreck, there is no hope” I thought, “Now that I have the knowledge, I will find the tools to help me find a solution.” And it felt so damn good!

Now, don’t get me wrong, this ‘positive’ perspective didn’t happen overnight. Good, efficient and long-term changes take time. But what I want to prove with this example is that you should take each problem or circumstance as a positive opportunity to change and to evolve.

At the end of the day, everything happens for a reason – you either have to find the reason yourself or it will become clear by itself after some time.

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” —Walter Hagen

2. Remind yourself that positive attracts positive

You most definitely know the quote, “Smile and the world smiles with you.” At this point, it’s almost evident how much gratitude is important. Expressing gratitude everyday will boost your positive attitude in so many ways.

Here’s an example of a really easy exercise you should start practicing: This can be done at night or first thing in the morning. When you wake up, ask yourself, “What are 3 things I am grateful for this morning?” or, when you go to bed, “What are 3 things that made me happy today?”

This will help your ‘computer’, that is, your mind – in escaping any negative ‘viruses’, that is, your thoughts. Being grateful unfolds in so many positive ways. It will help you have the right, positive energy which will attract positivity.

Because positive attracts positive! The more you focus on having a great day when you first wake up in the morning, the more you will attract it. You will start noticing small details that you hadn’t before, like the beautiful petals in your neighbor’s garden, or simply the way the sun reflects on your skin. It’s also part of living in the now… All yogis will tell you about it.

On the contrary, negative emotions just make everything seem even more negative and then it just becomes a vicious cycle. The important thing to bear in mind here is that your emotions determine your perspective.  In other words, if you control your emotions better, you will control the way you see things better. You have the ability to change – your inner strength will help you in changing focus.

3. Take some distance with any source of negativity

It’s so necessary especially when you start changing your everyday routines and thoughts. Escaping all sources of negativity will give more space to attract positivity. This also means attracting more positive situations and people.

Whoever is toxic in your life or seems to slow you down, you need to put a cross on. You don’t have the time or the space to keep them. This also works for ‘toxic’ situations. Are you working a 9-5 job that you hate? Quit.

When you decide to change your emotions and your perspective, you don’t have any more space for negativity. Simply put, don’t expect positive change when you are surrounded by negative circumstances. 

“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

4. Reward yourself with positive self-talk  

You already took a positive action to read this article in order to become a better version of yourself. Give yourself a little tap on the back! It’s important to shift your thoughts, but it’s almost twice as important to give yourself rewards for it.

It’s not that easy to accept and to embrace a change of thoughts and of perspectives. Realize that what you’re doing is sign that you are taking good initiatives into becoming a better person. Not everyone does it! The world would be a better place if they did.

A simple change in how you look at things and events can completely change your life. Perspective is all about what you decide to focus on. If you decide to focus on negativity, chances are, your life will be negative. On the contrary, if you choose to realize all the good things going on in your life, the quality of your life will necessarily get better. It’s not about what happens but how you deal with what happens.

Remember, it won’t happen overnight. But if you want it enough, like for everything – you will take the necessary time and efforts to make it happen. And then you will never perceive things the same way you used to.Every day is a new chance to start again. Embrace it!

What are some things you do that help you change your perspective and put you in a more positive state? Comment below!

Olivia Maitre is a digital marketer at Jobable. She writes content on HR and career-related topics. Born in France, grew up in the US, UK and Hong Kong. A millennial who sees the world through a multicultural prism.

Life

5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused

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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)

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