Five Ways to Keep Your Perspectives Flowing Forward
Bill Cottringer

“In anything, perspective is everything.” ~The author

Perspective: Personal point of view; how you view something; different aspects of an object in thought from a particular standpoint.

I hope Lao Tzu doesn’t roll over in his grave in reaction to me re-arranging his famous quote about time, into the one above about perspective being even more important. Why is that so? Because today, success and happiness depend upon having the right perspective about problems and solutions, other people, our purpose and life in general.

To be successful in problem-solving and effective in dealing with other people, you have to see the truth of something first, in order to be able to act on it in a way that gets the best results. In a very literal way, what you see and think to be so, really depends more on the location in time and space from where you are doing the looking, than the thing itself. And if you don’t like what you are seeing, all you have to do is move a few yards or wait a few minutes and things often change drastically.

What’s in a perspective? Consider this list which is only scratching the surface:

• What you see.

• What you think about what you see.

• What you feel about all that.

• The over- or under-flavoring effect of the place or time from where or when you are looking.

• Perceptual biases that don’t always let you see clearly without distortion.

• A variety of mental mistakes that are common in thinking in knowledge about what you perceive or think about what you perceive.

• Prior experience or inexperience with the thing.

• Whatever goes on in between the raw intake of the image or thought and the processing that translates it for meaningful consumption by the mind and mouth.

• Any endless outside experiences like reading or believing what friends, experts or higher authorities have to say about the thing.

• Intuitive sensations that you can’t always understand, explain or articulate clearly.

Given that this list can be realistically expanded a couple of times over, I think it is safer to consider most perspectives as tentative rather than worthy of being embraced as absolute, permanent and forever. Plus to keep up with the overload and speed of change today, it is essential to keep perspectives flowing forward, and avoiding letting them get stale or obsolete. Wrong perspectives always fail and rob you of the success and happiness that is yours.

Here are five easy ways to keep your perspectives flexible, flowing freely, and moving forward, along with some questions to get you going in the right direction:

1. Shift attention away from what you are thinking about or looking at, towards the when and where of it. Does what you see or think to be true ever change over time? Is the view different when you turn around and look at the other 180-degrees? What turns out to be more important—what you are looking at, or all the additional add-ons and fill in the blanks?

2. Think about the consequences of a perspective. What level of success or happiness are you likely to get from being open and trusting? Or are there dangers of being too trusting? What if you are wrong with a powerful perspective you have of something close to your heart?

3. Do an inventory of the advantages or disadvantages of a particular perspective. Is being realistic rather than optimistic helping you or hurting you, both in the short term or long run? Does an open mind or closed one yield better results? What little thing can you change to make a current perspective more advantageous?

4. Write down your most important perspectives and keep track of their results. Do your most important perspectives hold true over time or do they change? Do they get proved or disproved or neither? Do they hold you back or boost you forward?

5. Question your self as to how do you decide what is the right perspective to have? How do you know what to believe or not believe? How to you make the judgment about the certainty of something? What can you learn from people with different perspectives that you think are wrong?

Ask yourself more questions about these things to get the energy going to find and apply the right perspectives that lead you to more success and happiness.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), and “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair Rx” (Publish America) and “Reality Repair” (coming shortly) Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or