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Posts Tagged ‘Perspective’

If you really, truly want to have the best holiday ever, I mean one like you have never experienced before . . . one that your soul has always yearned for . . . the kind of holiday you have always dreamed about . . .

. . . then I have a very simple recipe to create that experience for you.

 
gratitude2

It has just two ingredients —

    1. Gratitude.

    2. Perspective.

 

Shall we practice it?

 
 
 

If you woke up in your bedroom this morning, got out of your warm bed, and walked into your bathroom . . . be grateful.

There are 100 million people who are homeless and 1.6 billion without adequate housing.

 

If you opened your refrigerator at some point today and paused trying to figure out what to eat . . . be grateful.

There are almost 800 million people who go hungry every day.

 

If you are reading this, even if you need your glasses . . . be grateful.

17% of the world’s adult population is illiterate.

 

If you got in your car, cursed your way through a commute, and suffered through a job you hate . . . be grateful.

There are 200 million people without a job.

 

(And yes, I would strongly encourage you to consider a new job in 2017. Your life is too precious to be suffering through it.)

 

If you went through the whole day and didn’t hear any gunshots, not even once . .. be grateful.

1 in every 122 people is a refugee of war, violence or persecution.

 

If you took a glass from the cabinet, turned on your faucet – or even more miraculously, poured yourself some bottled water . . . be grateful.

10% of the world does not have access to clean water.

 

Over the years, I have found that these two simple principles – gratitude and perspective – are all I need to provide me with a great deal of joy in my life, regardless of what I personally may be dealing with.

 

There is no doubt we all suffer and experience struggles in our lives, but with a moment of pause, and a little perspective, you will quickly see how incredibly blessed you are.

 

The reality is, if you are reading this blog on your computer, chances are very good that you are among “the 1%” of the world.

 

“What if you woke up today with only those things you thanked God for yesterday.”

– Anonymous

 

Wow! What a concept! When I read this it stopped me and had me think about yesterday. It had me think about what gifts in my life I acknowledged . . . and all those I did not.

 

Gratitude takes but a moment, but lasts a lifetime. It leaves traces of love in your heart, and the heart of others. If there is one gift we should not be a Grinch about this holiday season, it is our gratitude. It costs nothing, yet is a treasure to all who hold it.

 
Epilogue
 

A few days after I wrote this entry, my neighbor in the condo above me had a leak and water poured into my bathroom through the ceiling. This is the third water issue I have had in my home this year. As you can imagine, I was a bit frustrated.
 

As I thought about the inconvenience and began to get annoyed, I suddenly remembered this entry that I just wrote. I thought about the hundreds of millions of people that don’t even have access to clean running water. And just like that, my emotions shifted from annoyance to actually being grateful for the fact that I even had the possibility of clean, running water leaking through my bathroom ceiling.
 
Amazing what a little perspective will do.
 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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If you are not single, chances are you missed the valuable lesson OkCupid has to teach everyone. OkCupid is one of the numerous popular dating sites on the Internet, and it does something the other dating sites do not. Trust me, I know. I have been on them all.

 

OkCupid has thousands of questions their members can answer. They fall into 6 categories – ethics, sex, religion, dating, lifestyle and other. The more questions you answer, the better your suggested matches will be.

 

Why is this important and how does it apply to you . . . even if you are not single?

 

These questions paint the context around each person. Of course, like every other dating site you can see a person’s photos, read their profile and see their basic stats; but that is just a shell. To get a true understanding of the person – how they think, what they believe and your potential compatibility – you have to look at their answers to the questions. Their responses connect the dots and fill in the shell created by their photos, stats and profile.

 
context1

To fully understand someone, or a situation for that matter, understanding context is vital. Context is the little details that form the world around us; like the atoms that comprise every object or the threads that are woven together to make our clothes. By themselves they seem insignificant and nondescript, but when taken together and seen in the big picture, they form our world.

 

Sadly, today’s society is not built for context. 140 character tweets, short emails, even shorter texts, Facebook updates, etc. None of these “drive-by” communications is sufficient enough to create context. As a result, misunderstandings, miscommunication, bad decision making and unnecessary drama is on the rise.

 

And therein lies the challenge.

 

Understanding context takes time and patience. Whether it is a few extra minutes to ask a few more questions or a few extra days to deeply understand, either way, you have to give time and must have patience to allow context to emerge. And in today’s ridiculously fast-paced society, that is a luxury few people are willing to afford. We would rather take the short-cut or simply skip some steps in order to get to the end.

 

The thing is, context is like the water in a fish bowl. It surrounds and pervades the fish’s life, yet, it goes undetected by the fish because it is everywhere. Kinda like air for us humans. We don’t think about it very much or notice it. We just exist within it. Yet, without it, we would die.

 

Without taking the time to distinguish and understand the context of a situation, you may not die, but I promise you, in some way your experience will be more painful.

 

Context is the key – from that comes the understanding of everything.

– Kenneth Noland

 

One of the best ways to improve your life and relationships, and eliminate misunderstandings, miscommunications and bad decisions, is to take the time to understand context. Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, said it best – seek first to understand, then be understood.

 

This small action will dramatically change most relationships in your life, whether they are personal or business. The simple trick to achieving this change is to listen more, talk less, and take the time to ask more questions.

 

Read how this applies to your business here.
 
 
And for those singles out there, if you want some dating tips and help from one of the world’s most famous villains, be sure to check out this fun video!
 

 

(To see a great demonstration of context, click here!)

 

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A few months ago I saw a video someone posted on Facebook. It showed a woman having an absolute meltdown because her iPhone wasn’t working properly. Perhaps you experienced something similar as I heard many customers lost information with Apple’s latest system update.

 

The woman in the video was ranting and raving as if the world was coming to an end. She was visibly upset and extremely angry, to say the least.

 
first world problem5

Unfortunately, videos like this one often become a source of comedy and amusement in the Internet world. How could anyone actually act that way over such a silly thing? But let’s be honest, we have all probably had an experience like this, especially when it comes to our technology.

 

Then I looked at the comments for this video, as I often find the comments as insightful and entertaining, if not more so, than the video itself.

 

A page or two into the comments, past all those that made fun of her or commiserated with her, was one that stopped me in my tracks. The comment was three short and simple words —

 

“First World Problem”

 

Whoa. That put life in perspective pretty fast.

 

If I took a moment to consider my life, I would have to admit that well over 99% of my supposed problems are first world problems.

 

I have my health. I have a roof over my head. I never go to bed hungry. Come on, do I really have problems?

 

The truth is, if malfunctioning technology, rush hour traffic, the grocery store being temporarily out of stock of my favorite brand, car problems or any other similar challenges are the kinds of things I think are “problems”, then I shouldn’t be annoyed . . . I should be grateful.

 

I can’t think of a better time than Thanksgiving to feel grateful for all of my first world problems.

 

Next week when we Americans sit down at our Thanksgiving tables with friends and family, why not take a moment to be thankful for all our first world problems. May they be all we ever have to worry about.

 

Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

– Alphonse Karr

 

Perspective is everything. I totally understand that even if our problems are first world problems, they still appear as problems in our lives that need to be handled. They can be just as frustrating and worrisome as other bigger problems.

 

But perhaps at least once a year, those of us enjoying the luxuries afforded to us in the first world should stop long enough to see the incredibly beautiful rose growing among our first world problem thorns.

 

If you want a good chuckle, take a look at the video below. I can’t think of a better person to highlight this concept, and poke fun of some of the things we think are problems, than Weird Al Yankovic.

 

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Many years ago I had a summer job that required a lot of driving here in New Jersey.   One day I was stopped at an intersection when I witnessed two drivers almost get into an accident.   One was going straight through the intersection while the other was turning.   With the piercing screech of brakes, they stopped just inches from each other.

almost 4As you might imagine, tempers flared.   Both drivers got out of their cars and started screaming at each other as their arms waved wildly in the air in animated fury.

 

“What the hell are you doing! You almost hit me!” screamed one.

 

Not missing a beat, the other driver fired back, “I almost hit you? I have the right of way! You almost killed me!”

 

This mini street drama played out for several minutes as their anger rose and their need to be right increased.

 

Neither of them backed down, but eventually they got back into their cars, their faces flushed with rage, still yelling at each other as they drove away.   I can only imagine the stories they told to their wives that night when they sat down for dinner.

 

As I drove from the “accident” scene, I couldn’t stop thinking about what just happened.   I couldn’t understand their reactions and the way in which they chose to interact with each other.    I felt as if they missed one very important fact regarding what just unfolded — they ALMOST crashed into each other.   What they missed in this whole experience was that they DIDN’T crash into each other.

 

As I played the scene over and over again in my mind, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t get out of their cars, run toward each other and hug, exclaiming, “Oh my God!   You almost hit me!   That was so close!   Thank you so much for stopping just in time.   You saved my life!   We are so lucky!   Look, no damage to our cars and we’re safe!   And thank God we didn’t hurt anyone else.   Wow, what a great day!”

 

I am continually amazed by the number of people who get upset about things that ALMOST happened but DIDN’T.   This makes no sense to me.

 

I almost fell.  I almost missed the turn.  I almost missed my train/bus/airplane.  I almost . . .

 

In each of these situations, what should be present more than anything else is gratitude.   Gratitude for what did happen rather than anger, drama or being upset about what didn’t happen.   With just a moment of reflection, any of these incidences can be seen as a blessing for which to be grateful.

 

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.

– Jean Massieu

 

As the beautiful holiday of Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps we should all take a breath and appreciate our angels who prevented something from ALMOST happening in our lives.

 

All too often we choose, usually unconsciously, to get caught up in the drama of a situation.   More times than not this leads to nothing more than wasted energy and emotion in life.   And life is too short and precious to do that!

 

And if you’d like to take a look at some AMAZINGLY CLOSE calls and some people who are thanking their lucky stars and angels, take 2 minutes to watch this incredible video!!
 
 

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Most afternoons when the weather is nice, I will either go for a walk or a bike ride. One day in early April, after a few days of abnormally warm temperatures, a cold front was moving through the area.
 
 
storm 12By the end of my walk that day, the cold front was only about a ½ mile from my house. The sky was strikingly dark, with swirling greenish clouds mixed in for dramatic effect. I had never seen anything like it in all my years of weather-watching here in New Jersey, but it looked like the kind of sky people talk about before a tornado strikes. My thinking was proved right moments later by a neighbor from Texas (part of Tornado Alley) who confirmed that the sky does indeed look like this prior to a tornado.
 
 
The conditions were so threatening and foreign to me that I was a little concerned. I felt a pang of fear in my gut as I focused on the ever darkening skies approaching from the northwest that were filled with frequent flashes of lightning. I hurried my pace to get home before the storm hit.
 

As I walked up the last hill, I turned around and faced the southeast. There the skies were still bright, with patches of blue and white puffy clouds. Just looking in that direction calmed the nervousness and fear I felt in my gut and my whole body seemed to relax.
 

I still needed to get out of the impending storm, but the two drastically different views of the sky had me realize something much bigger about how we go through life.
 

What you focus on determines the reality of your day . . . and your life.

 

Do you focus on fear and the impending storm that might come your way, or do you focus on the bright skies that exist if you simply turn around and change your view? It is amazing how simply changing your focus can completely change the way life shows up for you.
 

If you go through life focusing on the storm, your life will more likely always be in turmoil. If you focus on the clear skies, you will more likely have a peaceful, lighter life.
 

So ask yourself, “What is your focus in life?” Do you like the circumstances that focus creates for you . . . or is it time to look in another direction and focus on brighter skies?
 

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.

– John Lubbock
 

The truth of the matter is that we get to decide what our life looks like and how it gets created. It is up to us and is our responsibility. Consciously or not, we choose what we focus on and create. Do you want that creation to be filled with the dark, swirling clouds of a storm, or do you want it to be filled with the bright light of the sun? The choice is yours .
 
 

And while you are bathing in the warm rays of the sun, why not listen to a fun, hopeful song from days gone by. At a minimum, ya just gotta dig this guy’s clothes! 🙂

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If I asked you to find the United States on the map below, you would most likely be able to do that. Similarly, if I asked you to find India, you would succeed as well. We all grew up staring at this map on the wall while our teacher stood in front of the classroom imparting knowledge. The map is part of our ingrained belief about how the world looks.

 
map 2
 
But what if I told you it was all wrong? What if I told you that the world actually looks like this?
 
asifoscope map
 

Surprising, right? In fact, I bet some of you would say that this second map is just plain wrong. And perhaps, like myself, even after seeing this map and reading this newsletter, you will still think and relate to the world according to the first map. It’s as if the first map is part of our DNA.

 

We all grew up thinking Greenland is as large as Africa, when in fact Africa is 14 times larger. We think Europe and South America are roughly the same size, when in fact South America is 60% larger. We think Alaska is much larger than Mexico, when in fact Mexico is larger by 100,000 square miles.

 
Why is this important? Because it is a beautiful demonstration of the power of beliefs.
 

We interact with the world based on our beliefs – what we think and believe about ourselves, what we think and believe about others, what we think and believe about our life. These beliefs live as truths for us, form who we are, and guide our actions.

 
But as you can see, they are not always true. They are just true for us.
 

If you are stuck or unhappy with something in your life or business, take a moment to consider the beliefs that lie underneath that unhappiness. Chances are, those beliefs are forming your thinking and are the reason for being stuck or unhappy. Thus, to change your situation in life, you must change your beliefs.

 

If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?

– W. Somerset Maugham

 

The first step to changing a belief is to become aware of it. If you don’t know what your beliefs are, then chances are they are running you like a robot. You have no choice in life and simply carry on like a machine. But once you can see your beliefs, you can be at choice about them. You can decide which ones serve you and which ones do not. And in that moment, your life becomes yours to change.

 

To further understand the social impacts this particular perspective of the world might have, watch the fun clip below of one of my favorite TV shows, The West Wing.  As a writer, I always admired the dialogue of this Emmy winning show.

 

 
 

World map courtesy of picturespider.com

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