Giving thanks for the cards we are dealt
Non-profit network--optimism, obstacles, and opportunities

Perspective on our possibilities

First of all thank you for all of the feedback on my got gratitude? blog. Loved hearing the stories where you contacted your mentors, doctors, relatives and others to thank them. Again, expressing our gratitude is such a mutually beneficial act!

Yesterday I celebrated another anniversary of my birth. I have reached a stage in my life when these moments are a reminder of time that has passed and the time that is left. Don't get me wrong I enjoy marking the annual milestone, and I had a quiet nice dinner with my family. But I use these yearly events to gain a bit more perspective. What have I done? What do I want to do? What is really important to me? I think perspective is everything. How you view things, what you see, and how you feel often determines what happens next. 

I was very fortunate to have been raised by a mother and father who operate on polar opposite hemispheres of the brain. My Mom Tomi, is a right brainer, an artist, a creative person, and curious. My Dad Rod, was a CPA for more than 50 years, a left brainer, analytic, rational, and decisive. Traversing these world views gave me many strengths and weaknesses, but it helped me appreciate what lies between. My Mom sees possibilities and opportunities--she sees the negative spaces and the positive spaces in everything. Her glass is not so much half full as much as she admires the purity of the water and the beauty of the vessel. My Dad's glass is less full, the water tastes funny, and somebody did not wash the glass!

Seriously,  my parents' gift of those diverse perspectives gave me a great life navigation system. 

BTW, just resurrected my copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, a gift from my mother. A great read and a way of revealing your creative side. 

I have learned that your perspective, your pessimism or optimism may determine your life expectancy. Optimists live longer. Half full or half empty study Seems pretty intuitive that people who see the possibility have a longer trajectory than the ones who doubt it. 

So we need both perspectives to understand reality. See the possibility and yet understand what it takes to get there. But perspective, like life, has to adapt and evolve. Your perspective has to shift, it has to be dynamic, it has to be alert to the changes that surround us. It has to re-focus on what lies ahead how the current circumstances and "inconveniences" can be overcome to get to the next part of your journey. That's positive realism and that will buoy your energy and perspective. 

Excerpt from Jim Collins book Good to Great:

"Throughout our research, we were continually reminded of the 'hardiness' research studies done by the International Committee for the Study of Victimization. These studies looked at people who had suffered serious adversity – cancer patients, prisoners of war, accident victims, and so forth – and survived. They found that people fell generally into three categories; those who were permanently dispirited by the event, those who got their life back to normal, and those who used the experience as a defining event that made them stronger."

Appreciate what you have and then you may see what is possible. Easy to become a victim to the self-fulling prophecies that create certain failure. I just talked to someone looking for a new job and they said, "Going to start my search after the holidays, because no one is going to hire now." If many people feel that way, then this is the BEST time to look for a job, right?!! I always think NOW is the best time to start anything important. 

The challenge is in every moment and the time is always now. James Baldwin

There is an old story about British shoe salesmen who went to Africa at the turn of the century. One wrote back to factory and said, "Very discouraging, no one wears shoes here." The other salesman wrote, "Fantastic opportunity no one wears shoes!" It all depends on how you view things. 

Perspective of time is something I think a lot about, especially during birthdays. How can we maximize the time we have? How do we jam in to what seems like a shrinking and ridiculously small sized life, all of our opportunities, dreams and goals? As I say, more choices and less time! So we have to choose what is important and not let things just happen. We have avoid the "I wish I would have" syndrome. We have to use our time well, otherwise you start to accumulate regrets. As you know, I believe that age is defined by the quantity of your regrets. NO REGRETS! is a way to slow that aging clock. :)

So our perspective impacts how we feel, what we do, and where we are going. Step back and see the chance instead of the challenge. See the opportunity vs the obstacle. 

Thanks for reading. John