Expand Your Perspective

To be extraordinary, you have to be willing to constantly challenge your perception of the world.

Do you see a limited view of the world or do you see the world through the perspective of others? We need to be mindful of our personal beliefs, because our moral compass can be easily swayed by the fear of personal sacrifice.

To put it in another way, we dislike what causes us discomfort—inconvenience, money or sacrifice. Even if the end result would benefit a thousand of our neighbors, we often find such positions unacceptable. We will fight against such changes because our focus is on one person—ourself—and unfortunately that means those around us stop mattering.

Here is the challenge for you. Take all of your deeply held beliefs—politics, economics, religion, ethics, morals and personal values and imagine yourself without them. If today you awoke from a coma with total amnesia, what values would you adopt? Begin your search for them.

One option is to declare to your friends and family that your mind has changed on a key issue with which you know they will disagree with you. Have them persuade you using only Reason and Logic that their belief returns the maximum value for everyone in the world. You can broach the topic by saying you are starting to see things differently. Nothing appears black and white to you anymore. Now, you see too much gray in other people’s opinions. Perform a thought experiment if you cannot bring yourself to verbally disclose a change of heart.

You don’t have to internally agree with the opposition, but you do have to surrender your own beliefs and imagine life from another perspective. Explain this other point of view. Use the human gift of Reason to empathize, sympathize and share the many reasons why someone else’s point of view is just as valid as yours.

Just as you cannot learn to swim if your arms never let go of the raft, you must let go of your personal beliefs in order to learn how to navigate a world of diverse human perspectives. We have to understand how rationalization and bias impact our beliefs and consistently challenge those assumptions. We should always be willing to have our beliefs challenged. If someone can show us a better way to do anything, why would we refuse to listen with patience? Alternatively, if someone shows you a less effective method of work, would you not show them a better way from your own perspective?

Do everyone a service by keeping an open mind and always accept that there may be a better way just around the corner if you’re willing to look for it.

Persistence Makes the Difference

“Persistence can make anything possible.”

One of the remarkable truths about human existence is that with patience, determination and persistence you can make anything a reality.

I came across a worn tree dragged down under the weight of an encroaching vine while walking in a secluded wood. Upon closer inspection, I recognized the vine as a wild grapevine and wondered at its resilience to both survive and actually fruit in the wild.

More impressive still was the recognition that I could learn from this plant’s voracity for life, expansion and growth. Despite the many obstacles it has faced—drought, foraging animals and a shaded canopy, the vine continued to thrive and soon overwhelmed this mighty tree.

That’s what we can learn from nature.

  • How can we be resilient in the face of obstacles beyond our control?

The answer was clear—never stop growing. Day by day—add new growth. Expand your influence and beliefs until you overwhelm the obstacles which stood in your way by conquering them like the vine.

  • Learn something new.
  • Work an extra shift.
  • Exercise and improve your health.
  • Meditate and strengthen your mind.

Some Days Suck—Get Over It

On even the darkest days, birds sing and flowers bloom.

The world carries on regardless of what happens to you.

  • Some days are hard.
  • Other days are terrible.
  • Many days you just can’t seem to win.

In a nutshell, that’s just life. Nature is optimized to ensure the best possible solution for everyone and everything, not just you. That means while your day may be terrible—the world’s just fine.

So the lesson here is to be careful what you complain about. This doesn’t mean that you weren’t wronged or that the system isn’t stacked against you. What it means is that you won’t waste time complaining about reality. You’ll take decisive actions to improve your life rather than taking no action and begrudge it. Nothing will change if you do nothing.

There is a difference between hardship and inconvenience. A flat tire, a speeding ticket, the flu and a pink slip are all really just events in your life. These events are insignificant to the world in the grand scheme of things, but to you they seem all-important.

Try and unlearn this self-centered approach to life. It’s disadvantageous to your wellbeing because it encourages you to bemoan hardship rather than shrug it off.

Life sucks. Then you die. Get over it. —L. Trumble

I’m not quite as harsh in my own words, but Trumble is right. Life is hard. Don’t complain about your experiences—overcome them. Before you know it, your life will be over soon enough. Make choices that encourage your personal growth, development and success now. We never know when when our time will be up.