Monday, August 16, 2010

It's All A Matter of Perspective

I have a theory—and it’s really simple: no matter what the situation is, you can come out on top if you simply evaluate it in the right way. Now, you may be thinking, “That’s so esoteric, how can you make that tangible?” But just hear me out.

I’ve said it before, but I’m repeating it here: life is a series of choices. How you make those choices is up to you. But, what I’m offering you in this blog post is a new lease on life.

At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of perspective.

All of it? Every last bit of it.

Any sports fanatic knows that 90% of any match is mental, not physical. That means having the right strategy, the right game plan—the right perspective.

But what exactly does that mean? Perspective is defined as: “[The] choice of a context or a reference (or the result of this choice) from which to sense, categorize, measure or codify experience, cohesively forming a coherent belief, typically for comparing with another.”

Huh?! It’s how you look at the world—and what you choose to compare it to; in essence, your experiences and previous choices determine how you interpret future events and circumstances.

But lately I’ve heard so many people whine and complain about a variety of different life circumstances. I’m here to give them an important message: wake up! Life doesn’t always happen the way you predicted it would. Sometimes, you just have to learn to work through it and have faith—and change it instead of accepting the status quo.

So, look at every problem—every challenge—as an opportunity instead of a setback. Don’t give up; don’t count yourself out too soon. Half the battle is believing, “Yes I can.”

Not to mention, perspective plays a huge role in building resilience. Of the 10 ways The American Psychological Association lists to build resistance, many of them have to do with using your perspective to approach life in a positive, can-do way.

Here are the 10 ways for your reference:
1. Maintain good relationships with close family members, friends and others;
2. Avoid seeing crises or stressful events as unbearable problems;
3. Accept circumstances that cannot be changed;
4. Develop realistic goals and move towards them;
5. Take decisive actions in adverse situations;
6. Look for opportunities of self-discovery after a struggle with loss;
7. Develop self-confidence;
8. Keep a long-term perspective and consider the stressful event in a broader context;
9. Maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things and visualizing what is wished;
10. Take care of one's mind and body, exercising regularly, paying attention to one's own needs and feelings and engaging in relaxing activities that one enjoys.

So, take your life into your own hands. Wake up every day ready to seize the moment. Open up to new possibilities. Welcome challenges as a way to grow and learn.

Because even in a torrential downpour, if you think it’s sunny, it really is.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Less Talking, More Walking

We’ve all heard the phrase before. You know, the whole, “You can talk the talk, but you can’t walk the walk” bit. But most of the time we hear it in a joking, flirty manner. Tonight, I challenge you to think differently.

You see, we’re all guilty of it: committing to something and then failing to follow the commitment through to completion. But, think about it long and hard: life isn’t characterized by how many times we said we were going to do something—it’s made up of how many times we followed through.

Because, at the end of the day, our actions speak louder than our words. Nobody likes someone who says one thing and does another. It’s the doing that matters; consistency is king.

As of late, I’ve noticed so many complainers. Hell, I’ve probably been one of them And I’m tired of it. My friend Sarah even noticed it in herself.

But as long as we can spot it, we can change it. In doing so, I’m making more commitments to myself. For example, today I tweeted: “I promise that I will not settle for mediocrity in any aspect of my life. I deserve the best.” We all do. Obviously “the best” is completely relative and subjective—but figure out what that means to you.

Because you need to be doing your best to deserve the best in return. It’s personal karma. It’s healthy. It’s cyclical. It’s just the way that life works.

This may all seem extremely lofty or out-of-touch, but it’s so damn true. We all become complacent and comfortable—or perhaps too busy for our own good—far too easily. It’s important to stay focused on the walking as opposed to the talking.

Personally, I’m finding it helpful to make more lists and to plan better. Organization is the key to any well-oiled machine, and so I’ve devised a plan to get my credit card paid off and get caught up with my student loan payments. I’ve made lists of items I need to purchase and have planned when I will be able to afford them. I’ve also made more general rules like, “less drinks, more books” and “bigger lunches, smaller dinners” in an effort to be healthier and diversify what I do in my spare time.

Honestly, I’m tired of saying “Oh, I think I’m gonna rest up this weekend, maybe go to the park or a museum—perhaps finally explore Brooklyn or go to Fire Island for the first time.” And then never following through. I get pissed at myself because I always go to the same clubs, drink the same expensive drinks that I shouldn’t buy, waste my days away recovering from the nights prior. It’s such an exhausting routine. I’m putting myself through my own version of rehab and forcing myself to stay in and watch movies, catch up on TV shows and live within my means.

A few days ago, I looked at my list of New Year’s Resolutions from early January. I’ve accomplished none of my goals. None of them. How’s that for following through? Yeah, extremely poor. Talk about a personal fail!

So I’m holding myself more accountable—mentally, professionally, financially. It’s time for some forced personal growth. It’s time to branch out. It’s time to start doing.

But it all starts with saying it (hence, this post) and recognizing that the choice is there to be made.

I’m duct-taping my Nike’s to my feet. They’re gonna be getting a lot of mileage here soon.