The way you choose to look at things changes the way things look

Upside-Down Skyscraper

Upside-Down Skyscraper

“Just got drenched by a passing truck on my way to the train. This is obviously the part of the poorly produced romantic comedy when I get dumped, fired from my job, and at some point my high heel breaks. I guess tomorrow will be a whirlwind adventure of love and surprises?”

My friend (singer/songwriter) Emily Anderson posted those words on Facebook recently and inadvertently illustrated how perspective can change a frustrating event into something that is laughable. Imagine that…an artist showing us a better way to look at the world around us…

Most of us are able to grasp that spilling our coffee, getting blocked by a train on the way to work, or running out of gas isn’t on par with the experiences of the many people who are oppressed and suffering around the world, but it can be so difficult to maintain that perspective when our plans are being disrupted.

The challenge is to have the presence of mind to elevate our perspective from the immediate hardship to a place that allows us to see it at the appropriate scale. Here are three questions worth asking the next time you find yourself in a frustrating circumstance:

  1. Will this be a funny story in a week, a month, or a year?
  2. Would I feel like an idiot if I had bemoan my current situation to someone battling cancer?
  3. What story is my reaction telling others about who I am? (and what would I believe about them if they were acting as I am?)

I thought Emily was pretty cool before, but her hilarious take on a situation that would have ruined my whole day made me like her even more. I’m guessing that her first thought wasn’t “I’m soaked and loving it!” but she managed to see her circumstances from a different angle and, in doing so, changed her relationship with them.

Thanks for turning your less-than-ideal commute into a teachable moment, Emily!

To find out more about what Emily is up to when she isn’t being doused by passing vehicles, go to emilyandersonak.com.
Emily Anderson

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