How to Shift Perspective

How to Shift Perspective

“We all have the power to make a difference in our own lives and the lives around us. Shift your perspective and let go of whatever, or whoever, is holding you back.”

“Never ahead, ever behind, yet flying swiftly past; for a child, I last forever; for an adult, I’m gone too fast. What am I?”

Throughout history, we as humans have significantly advanced in our ability to optimize the impact of our lives. We know how to construct prose, enhance our bodies and manipulate matter. But the one thing we can’t seem to get control over is time. 

In language, we speak of time as malleable, consequential, and even powerful. 

“Today was a long day.” 

“Time flies when you’re having fun.” 

“There’s not enough time.”

“It’s too late.” 

But is it? 

Time is fixed. It is unyielding, unwavering. It doesn’t hiccup, pause or stop. Time doesn’t change. Perspectives do. Analyses, predictions and measurements are human perceptions as a way to rationalize our thoughts and decisions within a given frame. As we change, so do our perspectives. Time is true, it is data and it is fact. Time is life. 

We use strict timeframes to validate our perceptions of our life choices. 

Instead of being vulnerable with ourselves, whether it’s admitting fault or pursuing something new, we blame time. As a society we have hegemonic tendencies of when and where certain decisions need to be made. Sometimes it’s daily decisions like eating ice cream for breakfast. And other times it’s major life decisions like going to physical therapy years after an accident. 

It’s true that some things might have been easier if you would’ve made a decision earlier, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to change now. Realistically, how can you be late to something that hasn’t started? 

To make a change in your life, recognize that time is irrelevant. Accept the inability to control it and focus on what you can: perspective. We are human – not time controlling doctors with strange last names and phone box time machines. Our superpower is our autonomy. We have the freedom to govern our individual bodies and minds.  

If you’re ready to drop the burden of time and make some positive life changes, check out my top five tips on shifting your perspective. 

how to shift perspective, healthcare, therapy, data, analytics

1. Actions are permanent, but situations are not. 

As someone that’s very persistent and stubborn, I have always been the kind of person that wants to see through whatever I’ve started. It’s taken me a while to shift my perspective on this concept, but I am working on recognizing the power I have in being able to change my mind. 

We can’t take back what we have already done, but we can adjust our actions moving forward. 

If there’s one thing I truly retained from my Econ101 class in college, it is the sunk cost fallacy. This is the idea that past investments or choices that cannot be recovered influence our decisions even if we don’t like them. 

In the Time’s article The Sunk Cost Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions. Here’s How, author Jamie Ducharme analyzes a study by author and assistant professor Christopher Y. Olivola. “Sticking with the plan, even when it no longer serves you, could be an attempt to correct cognitive dissonance: the mental disconnect between paying for something and not getting the expected return on investment,” (Olivola, 2018). 

Just because you made a decision in your past does not mean you are stuck there. Even if you’ve invested money and energy into it, continuing down that road won’t give you your resources back. 

We are constantly growing and learning new things. If you need to make a change, do it. Don’t let something that no longer supports you keep you from bettering yourself. 

2. A mountain is seen from multiple sides. 

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” -Wayne Dyer

In my high school AP Literature class, we did a unit on poetry. This was definitely not my area of interest, always preferring prose over poems. However, there is one that has stayed with me throughout the years. I can’t even remember the name or the poet, but the message of the work has helped shape my internal ideology since reading it. 

The poem told a story of multiple people looking at a mountain. Each person described how they saw theirs: short, wide, narrow, tall, dark, bumpy, smooth. The takeaway was that they were all looking at the same mountain, but from different viewpoints. They couldn’t see what others could, because they were on their own track, going at a different pace.

When we are on a set path, sometimes it’s hard to imagine other viewpoints. This is in relation not only to how we view others, but how we view ourselves. Just because you aren’t working or healing as fast or efficiently as others, doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress. Maybe the path to your mountain started further away. Maybe it is an unpaved path with no signs directing your next turn. That’s okay. Keep your eyes on the mountain, and you’ll always know where to go. 

how to shift perspective, healthcare, therapy, data, analytics

3. Opportunity > Obligation

Shifting your perspective from thinking in terms of opportunities rather than obligations helps improve your mindset in multiple ways.

In the most simple form, it allows you to view your current responsibilities in a more positive light. Your choices and actions should be serving you in a way that brings you peace and happiness. Remind yourself of the end goal and why you’re doing what you do. 

Believing in opportunities over obligations can also help you reassess your goals. As we’ve gone over already, situations aren’t permanent and you can always change your mind. Maybe the version of you from a few months ago was looking at a different side of the mountain than your current self is seeing. 

So change your path. Try a new route. Maybe even a new mountain? You can always change your mind and come back. Whether it’s healing your body or mind, enhancing your workflow or giving you the steps to a higher purpose, the bumps in the road do not hinder your progress. They narrow your search for the right path. 

Take a chance and do what you actually want to do. Give yourself the opportunity to reach your true potential. 

4. There is always another way. 

In a 2021 survey conducted by Visier, 1,o00 American workers were asked about their experience with burnout in the workplace. The report revealed that 89% of the respondents had experienced burnout sometime within the last year. And two-thirds even claimed that they would leave their current position if given the opportunity. 

People seemed to be at a loss of how to solve this problem. Do we just accept this is life? Or do we quit? When times are tough and you feel like the only options are to continue what you’re doing, or quit altogether, remember there is always another way. 

A simple solution of sorts has been to increase, and even mandate, vacation time. As Visier’s report also points out, time-off isn’t enough. 

Take a step back and look at the root of the problem. Do workers really need more vacations? Or do they need better support? While vacations are nice, and definitely needed, they don’t alleviate the work that goes into preparing for an employee’s leave, the effort put into covering their absence, or the amount they have to do to catch up when they’re back. Over half even responded that they would most likely check-in while they’re away. 

Look from a holistic perspective. In this case, maybe your company needs more support through better technology, more workers, shorter hours or realistic deadlines. 

This ideology goes beyond the workplace. In a relationship, time apart or therapy is an alternative to breaking up or continuing on a toxic route. If you feel stagnant and want to move but don’t know where, try traveling and exploring places you’ve never been instead of being complacent or committing to something you’re not really interested in. 

Whatever is going on in your life, you’re not stuck. There’s always another option. 

how to shift perspective, healthcare, therapy, data, analytics

5. Question everything. 

Aristotle once said, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” So I say, question everything. 

As you begin to learn more, you realize that there is so much to be learned. Knowing more gives you the power to see from different perspectives. This inherently allows you to change your own way of thinking. You’ll have more compassion and understanding for others and also yourself. 

We limit ourselves to the knowledge we know. Once you’re aware of the limitation, you can make the right steps to overcoming it. Growing up, I never realized the power time has over our society and the way we shape our lives. The way we eat, sleep, learn, move and heal is dictated by the rotation of the earth in relation to the position of the sun. 

Why? 

Because someone else said so, and we never questioned it. When I came to this realization, I felt a surge of freedom. I can eat ice cream for breakfast if I want to. I can get therapy for an injury I got years ago. I can try tools and softwares that might make my life easier, even if it’s scary to jump into something new. 

Question everything. We don’t have to be complacent with what’s been given to us as the norm. We all have the power to make a difference in our own lives and the lives around us. Shift your perspective and let go of whatever, or whoever, is holding you back.


References:

“Riddles about time” https://solveordie.com/riddles-about-time/

“The Sunk Cost Fallacy Is Ruining Your Decisions. Here’s How” Jamie Ducharme, 16 July 2018, https://time.com/5347133/sunk-cost-fallacy-decisions/

“The Interpersonal Sunk-Cost Effect” Christopher Y. Olivola, 11 May 2018, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797617752641?journalCode=pssa

“When Vacations Aren’t Enough: New Visier Survey Finds 70% of Burnt Out Employees Would Leave Current Job” Visier Team, https://www.visier.com/blog/trends/new-survey-70-percent-burnt-out-employees-would-leave-current-job/

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