The Power of Perspective
Quick Tips for a New Perspective
It’s all a matter of perspective.
You’ve heard that before. But what if this simple adage could help lessen stress’s grip on us? According to author and public speaker Francis Tapon, it can.
A Harvard MBA, Tapon left the stress of the corporate world behind a decade ago to follow his passion for travel. He often journeys by foot (he has hiked four times across America, including the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail and a round trip on the Continental Divide Trail). Tapon has published two books and given a TED talk about what he’s learned on the road. One of his biggest lessons? How to handle stress. Here are two ways he offers to ease stress by changing your perspective.
Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life
Whatever we’re stressed about creates stress precisely because we believe it to be important, according to Francis Tapon. In the moment of stressful situations, it’s not always easy to realize what deserves our stress and what doesn’t. Tapon offers these techniques for checking in when the stress hits the fan.
Creating a new perspective of space
Imagine that you see your life through a camera lens; you can zoom in and see all the detail of a particular situation, or you can zoom out and see the bigger picture.
If a situation is creating stress, chances are you’re zoomed in, so that whatever is challenging you fills the whole lens of your perception. By pulling back in space, you begin to see the other lives around you—in your neighborhood, your state, your country, your planet—until eventually the earth itself is just a blue speck against the glittering black. From this perspective, how big is the problem causing you stress? Can you readjust your attitude toward it?
Creating a new perspective of time
You can also zoom out in time, asking whether the situation bothering you is something you’ll remember a month or even a few days from now. Then zoom out five, ten and twenty years. What about at the end of your life? Will it matter then?
“I think about death a lot,” Tapon muses. “How am I going to feel about this situation when I’m on my deathbed? Thinking about our mortality can help us pursue things that are more meaningful and handle life in a wiser way. To me, that’s both empowering and motivating.”