One of the most valuable skills you can have is the ability to think clearly and rationally—to process information, exhibit good judgment, engage in intelligent problem solving, and make smart decisions. But quite frankly, that doesn’t always happen. In fact, quite the contrary. Try to keep things in perspective.
Your thinking is dependent on the quality of the information that you receive and your ability to process it unobstructed. But just like fog can impede your sight, your perspective can impact your view as well. It’s the lens through which you see the world.
Changing your perspective will change your world.
15 Ways to Lose Perspective
Do you allow mental filters to cloud your views? Here are 15 ways to lose perspective:
View parts rather than the whole. Some people see things in isolation and miss the big picture. That said, when information is taken out of context, its meaning is distorted.
Hold a narrow-minded view. Some folks let their personal background, experience, and status bias their objectivity and cloud their judgment.
Focus on minutia rather than on priorities. Some people measure progress by checking items off their to-do list rather than by focusing on what matters most.
Let emotion eclipse reason. Some folks allow emotions such as worry, fear, resentment, and animosity to blur their perspective and impede their actions.
Make a mountain out of a molehill. Some people blow things out of proportion. They think, “I made a mistake — I’m such a failure,” or “I had a terrible day — my life is over.”
Label an entire group based on a few members. Some folks turn a single situation into a sweeping generalization. They think that just because one person committed a crime, the whole town should be thrown in jail.
Listen exclusively to like-minded people. Some people live in an echo chamber where dissenting viewpoints are discouraged and frowned upon. They surround themselves with “yes” people and subscribe to information that confirms their existing beliefs.
Judge a book by its cover. Some folks judge ideas based on a person’s rank, age, gender, or race rather than on its merits. In the same light, some people evaluate a presentation based on the likeability of the presenter rather than on the content.
Be a know-it-all. Some people view situations from one perspective — their own. They’re unable or unwilling to see other viewpoints. They always have to be right.
Look to others for answers. Some folks refuse to think for themselves. They give more weight to someone else’s opinion than to their own.
Jump on the bandwagon. Some people follow the crowd simply because of the herd instinct. They have no perspective of their own. They’re also likely to follow people blindly simply because they’re authority figures.
Accept misinformation. Some folks accept information blindly rather than scrutinizing it. The fact is, just because information is plentiful doesn’t make it accurate. Furthermore, it’s a fallacy to believe that more information always leads to better decisions.
Play poor victim. Some people feel helpless. They believe that life isn’t fair — the outcome is predetermined — so it doesn’t pay to try. If you make yourself out to be a victim, you’ll become one.
Live in the past. Some folks refuse to keep up with the times. They view everything through a rearview mirror. They’re likely to think that past events always dictate the future.
Fail to see that good times don’t last forever. Some people have it so good, they never consider that events could take a turn for the worse — until they do. (The converse is also true.)
Keep Things in Perspective
Mental filters can make you lose perspective. They impact your ability to see the world clearly — taking a toll on your objectivity, judgment, problem-solving ability, and capacity to make sound decisions. If you care about your credibility, relationships, and career, it’s important to take note of these mental filters and determine which ones apply to you.
While a dirty windshield hampers your ability to see the road effectively, you won’t even know how much these mental filters distort your view of the world unless you take time to notice. Try to keep things in perspective. Your mindset matters more than you think.
Excerpted from The Path to a Meaningful Life by Frank Sonnenberg.
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Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author and a well-known advocate for moral character, personal values, and personal responsibility. He has written nine books and has been named one of “America’s Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.” Frank has served on several boards and has consulted to some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. Frank’s newest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life, was released June 14, 2022.
Frank Sonnenberg | Keep Things in Perspective