How to Get (and Keep) Perspective in Life

Who laughs more: A 10-year old child or a 40-year old man?


We all know without a doubt it's the 10-year old child. But when you were 10, you never said “Wow! I can’t wait to grow up and laugh less!” But that’s what you did. It's what many people did.


For the first time in history we have had the opportunity to focus on fun and fulfillment as a lifestyle. The opportunity is there but few people truly take advantage of the wonderfulness that lies right in front of their very eyes.


That's not to say that we don’t have fun…we do. But most people don’t make fun, laughter and play a style of living.


The vast majority of the time is either "neutral time" or filled with hassles and minor upsets of annoyances, anxieties, worries or feeling generally down; trapped in a boring lifestyle. This is not the way it has to be. We can have more fun and be more effective at the same time.


Here is a question worth asking yourself everyday: “How can I have more fun today than I could if I didn't think about it?”


Generally, we don't think about how to have more fun on a moment to moment basis. Every morning we get up, go through our daily dozen, go to work, have lunch and before we know it the day is gone with very few ups. We just missed an opportunity to enjoy ourselves more and this day is lost forever to history.


Isn’t the primary goal in life to lead a long, HAPPY life? There is no point in leading a long, miserable life. When happy and content, we feel stronger, more assertive and much more able to achieve our goals, and model for those we care about to also be happier.


That’s what “Emotional Perspective” is about: To provide you with insight on how to overcome the thinking and emotions that can bind you, trap you, lock you into weeks, months and sometimes years of negative, unhealthy emotions like sadness, depression, worry, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and jealousy, amongst others.


“Perspective” is also about moving beyond the status quo of only occasional peak periods of fun and fulfillment to making these into a lifestyle that is experienced throughout the day and not just momentary points in time.


In these days of COVID-19, it's important that we maintain perspective. As difficult as it may be for many people, especially the elderly or individuals who for whatever reasons are more isolated, at the end of the day, no matter who is around you or in your life, your happiness will be reliant on you alone.


Much of contentment is relative… it's perspective. If you were living in certain places in the world today or 200 years ago, life would be very different and - most likely - significantly harder. When focused on survival, happiness and personal fulfillment is much lower on the list of priorities.


If you’re fortunate to live in a (relatively) safe First World country, then try to keep perspective and appreciate the goodness that you do have in your life - and then try to make the most of a (relatively) bad situation.


As you are reading this online, do a search on Positive Psychology, fun activities to do during COVID-19, or use this time to learn a new skill, read a good book, or enhance your education on any topic of interest. Lean forward. You can’t drive a car by constantly looking in the rear-view mirror.


DO something positive each day, for yourself and especially for others. Research dramatically and consistently shows us that people who are benevolent, generous in both spirit and behaviour produce longer lasting happiness and fulfillment than those who are overly “self-focused.”


By reading this article, you are already doing something for yourself. Now go and share that attitude with others.


Take good care of you, and share the excess with those who are less fortunate.

Written by: Dr. Dan Rutley


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