The power of personal perspective can literally change your world.
Easier said when everything in life is going your way.
Don’t get me wrong. I recognize that the events, conditions, and relationships we experience are very real, both good and bad. Life happens and it’s not just our response to external dynamics that defines our existence.
I finally agree with something you said.
But what some would consider to be nothing more than bromide is still true: Our response to what happens in life is just as – or even more – important than what happens to us.
Tell that to people who are used and abused in our world. Or is this one more way to keep them pacified?
You’ve seen the evidence yourself. Two people experience the same thing, but have a very different experience based on perception.
Very simplistic thinking.
Auschwitz and Dachau survivor, founder of logotherapy (the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy), and author of Man’s Search for Meaning and other classic works, Viktor Frankl, made this brilliant and challenging observation:
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Frankl was subjected to slave labor and lost his wife, brother, and parents to the death camps. As a psychiatrist enduring the most inhumane of conditions, his seminal observation was that those with meaning survive; those without hope or purpose don’t survive. For Frankl, therapy – overcoming, growing, surviving, thriving – was a matter of finding meaning in even in the most absurd and painful of situations.
Finding meaning is a perception adjustment that chooses hope over despair; freedom over slavery; victory over victimhood.
I believe that Viktor Frankl is needed now more than ever. Our culture and individual perceptions have been hijacked by a philosophy of helplessness and hopelessness that teaches us to define the quality of our life by circumstances, not by our choices.
In that space between stimulus and response have you bought into a philosophy of victimhood or personal empowerment? What do you see when you look at your life? Is the power of personal perspective in your life a positive or negative force?
Perspective is choosing a vision. Vision is not just seeing what is in front of us but also what can be. In the classic self book written by James Allen in 1903, As A Man Thinketh, he opens with this little poem about disciplining our mind to see the life we dream of.
Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:
—He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.