2023 October 17 Perspective and clarity, powerful tools for living

Oct 17, 2023

This is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website about reimagining your life. Thanks for joining me today to talk about bringing a little perspective to our lives. If you like what you hear today, please leave a like and tell your friends and send me a message.


I apologize for missing last week. I was up in northern Vermont for the class I had spoken about, and, it turns out there are rather large areas that have very minimal coverage. Humorously, the planned topic was focus, and so while I was able to focus rather intently, it wasn't quite in the way I had anticipated. 


A more relevant topic may be perspective. I'm not going to talk about the second major war that's currently underway, because something unusual happens when a problem is huge. Big problems seem easy to solve. Because they're so big, you can't really see the details, and the details are where the difficulties really lay. You see this often when people are faced with a difficult problem or a solution that isn't working well.


Their first thought is to make the solution even more complex and not simpler. But perspective applies to every last little thing in our own individual lives, as much as it does world level situations. This has been running around my mind since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started 600 days ago, February 24th, 2022. 


We often talk about envisionment and manifestation. We talked about that a couple weeks ago, and the reality is it's far easier to envision a positive future when you're not under siege when you are living in a free and wealthy nation.


I'm reminded of this often when I'm around many of my friends because I'm fortunate. I have good income in my area, and that's kind of rare around here. Listening to them reminds me to be really thankful at a lot of different levels. This isn't definitely about being happy because it could be worse. It's not that sort of thinking at all. Far from it. But it's easy to forget the obvious. Namely, the life that we're living every single day. There's a lot of good things for most of us in our lives. We tend to imagine that everyone else has it better than we do. 


It's part of mindfulness. It's looking outside yourself and seeing all the positive things that you have in your life. It's really important and it helps you keep perspective. I was reminded of that when I was telling some people that I know that I went to Vermont to get recertified for my wilderness first responder certification.


Two of my friends had never been there, yet for me it was just a quick trip. It made me appreciate all the more the many things I have access to just because I'm fortunate to have a good job and a good upbringing from an adventurous father.


It wasn't something that was beyond the unbelievable. It was just yet another little adventure. These are all things that I have to remind myself of. Remember to keep perspective in my life, and to remember all the positives that I have and things that are special that not everybody has access to. But this isn't about me and my perspective. Rather it's about us and our perspectives, specifically when we're goal setting, I suggest that you put things in terms of comfort and happiness, not dollars or bucket list items. Dollars are very fungible. They're interchangeable, they're just a commodity. They really represent time in many situations, so getting a hundred or a thousand or even a million dollars will naturally bring the same or even decreasing happiness, depending upon the circumstances.


It's all in your perspective. I've been reading the book, "Build the Life You Want" by Arthur Brooks and Oprah Winfrey. So far, I'd recommend it. I'm not super far into it. It's a little slow reading because I go back and reread a lot of the sections. But the current topic is what is happiness? It's interestingly difficult to define, because what it isn't is things. It isn't just pleasure. Pleasure is something different than being happy. 


So now let's rethink our goals, our life purpose, and our vision. There's a lot of cognitive dissonance in the world right now. It's unavoidable. Parts of the world are in tremendous distress, and parts of the world seem to be isolated from it.


This is where perspective is really needed. We need to keep a balanced perspective on our own lives, and to recognize each little thing that we can be thankful for. That doesn't mean ignoring the bad that's obviously taking place. Nor is there any reason to give up all hope. What it should do is sharpen our focus on what is good and bad.


Capture the good in our vision, our overall personal vision. Just as strongly, try to keep the bad from happening as a result of our own actions. There are many companies currently doing business as usual with murderous regimes. How could those blood dollars ever bring true happiness into someone's life?


The other side of perspective is not only recognizing what we have, but avoiding that which only brings false pleasure and not true happiness. One way to maintain perspective is to look at a situation in its simplest terms. Simplicity will clear away the uncertainty of complexity.


The biggest takeaway today is that perspective and clarity come from simplifying a discussion, not making it more complex. We need to take careful stock of our own life situation, our own goals, and make sure they're leading us in a direction that matters to us in a lasting and meaningful way.


That's it for the evening. It's kind of short today, but it's really something that's been weighing on my mind for quite some time. Perspective is being bandied around a lot these days, and a lot of it is superficial, even purposely maligned. Maybe misrepresented might be a better way and really perspective is pretty simple. It is looking at things in a balanced point of view, reducing the simplest forms and then really evaluating them in terms of your own life goals. I hope you can see why perspective and looking at clarity as a tool, not only for judging external situations, but also for improving your insight into our own lives.


Your homework (always optional) is to think of a familiar situation that you've already considered. Now simplify it even further and re-examine it. See if it gives you a different perspective. Extra points if you decide to keep simplifying it until it's down to the fundamental singular issues. Chances are, they'll have a pretty clear meaning or value to you.


That's it for the evening. As always, check out UKR7.com to support the people of Ukraine. Also World Central Kitchen is at WCK.org.


As always, please remember the war in Ukraine and the ongoings in the Mideast. There are a lot of things going on right now that need a lot of fixing, quite simply. One of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. Although I often bring up the war in Ukraine and now the unrest in the Mideast, anything you can do to help somebody besides yourself and take your personal vision from inside yourself outside into the world gives you a whole different perspective on the world.


I think in most cases, it really makes you feel a lot better about both yourself and the world in general, because you realize that you do have a part to play and you can influence somebody else in a positive way. So if you can and you're able, consider donating.


As always, thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting and useful, please pass it along and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week. Remember to live the life that you dream up, because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.