Have you ever noticed how something as simple as a shift in perspective can have a rather significant impact on how you go about your day or the decisions you make?
Perspective can erase or remove prior judgments. It can also create new ones.
It can make the impossible, seem possible and vice versa.
Perspective shifts can alter the course of your day or week, or even your life. Today I want to talk to you about how you can use perspective to improve your mood, get through something tough or overwhelming. I’ll show you how to use perspective to help you do something you may not really want to be doing even though it needs to get done.
Can you say “Hello to-do list?” Or better yet, how about taxes? Tax season is quickly approaching and having an extra tool in your toolbox for tackling those dreaded taxes might just come in handy.
Visualize With Me…
Lydia Singleton, the Spiritual Leader at Unity Church of Appleton once described our belief system as having three layers or bubbles if you will. I’m not sure if she learned this somewhere or if she came up with it on her own, but I love sharing it to help demonstrate the power that simple shifts in our perspective can have.
Imagine for a moment, that you’re surrounded by a bubble. You can envision the bubble as large as you want or you can imagine it close to your body. Whatever feels right to you is perfect. The only rule here is that you do your best to resist your inner-child’s desire to pop it! At least until we’re done with this exercise.
So now that you’re surrounded by a bubble, imagine another bubble surrounding the first. And finally, imagine a third bubble surrounding you and your other two bubbles.
Are you with me? Are you picturing yourself encompassed by three bubbles?
Three Stages of Belief
According to Lydia, the first layer of our belief system is contained within the inner-most bubble that directly surrounds us. This bubble contains our core beliefs – the things we deem possible.
The second layer, just beyond that first bubble contains our “Adjacent Possible” beliefs – the things we see as potentially possible but we aren’t quite ready to accept them as fully possible.
The outer-most bubble contains our “Adjacent NOT-Possible” beliefs – these are the things that are currently out of our reach to believe. We simply don’t have the capacity to believe them and possibly never will. We might, but right now they’re too far “out there” to even fathom.
As we go through our lives, the beliefs that we hold within the inner-most Possible layer, shift and change based on our perspective.
Something that’s currently in your Adjacent Possible (your second layer) can easily become part of your Possible layer or part of your Adjacent NOT Possible layer. Beliefs we have in our inner-most bubble can also move out to the outer-most layer as our perspective shifts.
Our life experiences, discussions with others, and any information with which we come into contact can create a shift in perspective and move something from one of our layers of belief to another.
But what I want to share with you, is that we don’t just have to wait for this to happen. We can take some steps to create our own shifts in perspective to help us get to where we want to be or to do things we want or need to do.
Our Thoughts Are Powerful
I was listening to Wayne Dyer earlier this week and he said something that made me pause to write it down. Well, he said a few things that I jotted down, but one thing, in particular, is relevant to what we’re talking about today.
He said, or rather he quoted the Bible, when he stated:
As you think, so shall you be. Not, as you are because you think, but As you think, so shall you be.
You create your life based on your thoughts and what you believe to be true.
Now I know that I’ve mentioned that the ego is not something we want to be listening to, but the ego is the one that creates our core belief systems.
You can interject your own shifts in perspective into your thoughts to make things happen. If you hold onto those shifts in perspective long enough, they become part of your inner bubble of core beliefs rather than an idea flittering lightly between your Possible and Adjacent Possible beliefs.
Example of a Self-Created Shift in Perspective
My 14-year-old seems to suffer from anxiety. We aren’t sure where this comes from but I talk to her regularly about how she has a choice as to what thoughts she wants to focus on in her mind. A lot of the self-talk in her head is negative and I talk with her regularly about making the choice to change that.
On her own, she has started developing a system to combat her thoughts and even her body’s physical reactions to her thoughts.
She’s always been one to pick at her food. Somewhere in her life, she developed a belief that eating will make her not feel well. She’s not anorexic. She eats and is healthy, but she would often take about a ¼ to ½ of the serving that anyone else at the table would take. She just couldn’t stomach more food than that at a time without feeling really ill.
One day a couple of months back, she decided that she was going to tell herself that the uncomfortable feeling in her stomach wasn’t anxiety at all. Instead, it was her excitement over the meal. Shortly after doing that she sat down and ate a full plate of food and even went back for seconds on some of the items!!
Success is Cumulative
She was ecstatic for having had such a breakthrough. Because she believed she could control her own thoughts and her body’s response, it became part of her inner-most POSSIBLE bubble of beliefs. All she did was shift her perspective. She tricked her ego or her mind into believing something else simply by stating it and believing it was possible to do.
Since finding success on her own with this she has been able to repeat the process in other areas. She used to complain about her leg or her hip or her wrist hurting. I reminded her that if she keeps expecting them to hurt, that they will continue to give her exactly what she’s expecting.
I don’t think I’ve heard her mention her wrist, hip or knee in at least 4 weeks now.
Now, this doesn’t mean that she always succeeds in winning over the perspective and beliefs that she wants to have. She still forgets sometimes, but the pattern is shifting and with each successful implementation of her self-created thought system she makes those new perspectives a bigger and bigger part of her reality – part of her core beliefs.
We all have the ability to shift our own perspective. We can choose to be miserable or to struggle, or we can choose to look at things from a different perspective – we can make life fun whenever we want to. This isn’t always easy and certain circumstances simply won’t be conducive to a perspective shift. But each time we do it and succeed at it, we will start looking for more opportunities to create a new perspective that feels better.
Another Example of a Shift in Perspective
Earlier this week, a colleague of mine shared how she managed to get her business books all wrapped up and ready for taxes. Mind you, she normally dreads this task and drags her feet in getting it done. Sound familiar? I don’t particularly enjoy them either. Taxes aren’t fun for anyone… or maybe they are? Would an accountant be an accountant if they didn’t find some kind of enjoyment out of it all?
So the possibility to LIKE doing taxes must exist.
Realizing this, my colleague simply said to herself, “What IF I believed that I LOVED doing taxes?“ She started pondering it more. “What if I told myself that I LOVED tax time because it felt good to close out the year and be able to move on to the new year fresh and ready to go.
She shifted her perspective and pretended that she LOVED doing her taxes. She imagined how she would feel if she loved taxes. She imagined what her expression or the energy might feel like if she loved taxes. And to make sure she didn’t revert back to a previous belief, she gave herself a deadline or a maximum amount of time that she’d work on taxes that day. She gave herself the next couple of hours – until noon – to work on them. After the time was up she decided she would take a break and go do something fun for a while as a reward – for her that meant working on a sewing project.
The Secret to Shifting Your Perspective
Before I tell you what happened, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
To shift our perspective, we don’t actually have to fully believe the new perspective. It’s true. It can be helpful if the new perspective resides in your “Adjacent Possible” bubble, but we don’t have to actually, 100% believe the new perspective.
We only need to pretend that we do. Our ego or mind can’t tell the difference between pretending to believe something and actually believing it.
So do you think you can guess what happened to my colleague when she chose to make a shift in perspective about her taxes?
She was able to fly through her taxes and it was FUN! But she didn’t just fly through them, she FINISHED them by the time her deadline rolled around. How cool is that?!? It felt amazing and she was able to fully enjoy her reward.
So how good are your acting skills? Remember, you only have to convince your ego, not a room full people.
If you pretend to fully believe your shifted perspective, your mind or ego will follow suit. And the more you do it, the more solid that belief becomes.
She didn’t dread the task of taxes once she had chosen to shift her perspective – to trick her mind or her ego long enough to get it done. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
You have a choice as to what thoughts you want to believe and focus on at any given moment.
So go ahead and shift your perspective. Get those taxes done. Do those chores. Rid your body of pains and ailments. Manage your anxiety. Now I’m not saying go off meds if you’re taking any for reasons just mentioned!!
I’m simply saying that you have the power to create whatever life you want, one decision or one perspective at a time. A little shift is all you need.
And with that said, I’ll leave you with one final thought to ponder.
After reading this article, has your perspective been shifted?