What's yours? When you go into a difficult situation or face a challenge, what is your perspective? Are you the glass half type of person? Or the glass half empty?
Throughout our lives we face many challenges. Some great, some not so great. But, whatever they are there's a certain attitude that we should all take with them. For most people going into a challenge causes them to be filled with dread, despair, discomfort, and stressful anticipation. Or if it is a challenge or obstacle that surprised them, they are thrown off their game and demotivated to overcome it. Just like the glass half full or glass half empty analogy, you can look at life and the challenges within it two ways.
The, "I can't do this/that," Perspective:
For those people who face challenges with dread or despair, this is their perspective. Whether it be a challenge that they are personally facing or a challenge that is in the world, people that have this perspective skirt the issues of their lives. This perspective and the people that hold it are very synonymous with lying, making everything seem ok, ignoring what they are truly capable of, and a general unconscious put down of themselves on a daily basis.
If you have this perspective on the world you might look at a marathon (or a 100 mile race) and say, "I can't do that." In a broader sense you might look at the challenge of doing your best at your job and, maybe not even consciously or verbally, say, "I can't do that." What I mean by that is that if you have this perspective then your entire frame of life will be based on failure. Which isn't a bad thing, you can learn from failure. But with this perspective you will make it very hard for yourself to learn from failure.
A lot of people in my life have this perspective and it's sad. They are wonderful people (most of them) who can do so much more with their lives. I'm not just talking about the adults in my life, many kids that I know at school also have this perspective.
One of the biggest challenges that people with this perspective face on a daily basis, are themselves. They are there own biggest challenge, because they do not allow themselves to live their full potential. They stop themselves from pushing beyond their preconceived limits. They cannot overcome large challenges and little ones cause great stress. Of course someone who has this perspective could not be as bad as I describe. People vary. But, whether you have this perspective very badly or hardly noticibly it is negatively affecting your life.
The, "That's a challenge," Perspective:
This perspective is the opposite of the one above. It is the peaceful and ultimately successful perspective. If you look at the world as a challenge and not in a bad way, then you have this perspective. What I mean by that is that the "I can't do this" Perspective would look at the challenges in their life as impossible. While the "That's a challenge" Perspective looks at the challenges in the world as a challenge to themselves to overcome. As a contest where they can persevere and an opportunity to overcome. For the negative perspective their life alone is to hard, but for this positive one the world is an opportunity.
Do you see the difference there? It is subtle, but it is there. This perspective looks at the world and sees hope, while its evil twin looks at just their own life and sees despair. Like I said before, this perspective can have many different variants within it. The common theme between them all is the fact that those who have this perspective, large or small, tend to live happier, more fulfilling lives. Instead of setting themselves up for failure and failure that they do not learn from, they set themselves up to learn. Now this perspective isn't perfect, nothing is. While you will fail sometimes with this perspective, nonetheless you will learn from failure and work to overcome it. That is the difference.
But how do you achieve this perspective? Or if you feel that you already have it, how do you improve it? Well the answer is quite simple and you have heard it all before. The answer is practice. Now I do not like the saying, "Practice makes perfect," because nothing is perfect and there is always room to improve. I prefer, "Practice makes better." This is what you must employ to gain or work on this perspective. You must practice looking at the world as a learning experience. A teacher that teaches through failure and success. You must practice enjoying every moment and beginning to look at the world as hope, instead of despair. When you catch yourself thinking or acting negatively or saying, "I can't do this/that," simply do what we do in meditation. Become aware of your negativity, breath into the moment, and look at the reason why you are negative as a time to learn and a time to overcome. Look at it as a challenge, something to persevere through. Of course, it's easy to enjoy the good times mostly, except for when the negative ones take over everything. In those cases you must again employ a present mind and a calm soul. Breath into the moment and into the challenge. It is nothing that you cannot overcome.
For me, and I know for you, it is a constant journey. I do not want to call it a battle, because it is not something so violent. The conflict between good and bad perspectives will wage your entire life, but it is not a war. It is more of a give and take, a ying and yang. One could not exist without the other and so when you face the bad, know the good will come. Now when you face the good, simply stay present in that happiness. Recently I went to UCLA for an AP Chemistry review session. Going to such a huge campus, even for day, was different to say the least. My high school is extremely small and while the architecture of UCLA was beautiful, it is not the kind of school for me. To big and to vapid. While walking around I was thinking on what the majority of perspectives that students in high school and college have. I came to the conclusion, from that UCLA experience and my own high school experience, that most of my fellow students perspectives are the " I can't do this/that" Perspective. They limit themselves to less than what they are capable of and it is very sad. I wish that more of my generation could find who they truly are and see what they are capable of at a young age, instead of the many years or never that it usually takes.
These thoughts on perspective are just that, thoughts. Maybe you look at the world differently than either of the ways that I outlined. Like I said, there are many different variations and possibilities. I am not here to tell you what to do, I am simply here to make you think and consider. To think on your life and the state that it is in and consider that you might need or want a dramatic change. I am here to help. It is what I do at my school and in our world. Let's all try to change our perspective for the better. Whether you are a fresh faced student or a weathered adult, we all have one very basic thing in common. We exist on this planet at this time. So let's all support each other a little bit more. Love each other a little bit more. Change each other for the better a little bit more!