Practice Shifting Your Perspective

Earlier in the week I wrote this blog for my work page. Look at the world from a different point of view is something people often suggest, but is always easier to say than put in to practice. So here is my offer of an approach that may help if not a little strange.

As a coach I talk and write about shifting our perspectives and reframing what is happening to us, and sometimes (ironically) I forget to see it from the perspective of people that are not used to seeing the world from another angle. How bad is that! A perspective shifter failing to shift his perspective. I suppose that is the point really. Shifting our perspective is not a default reflex therefore it requires a conscious effort.

That is a shame as shifting our point of view is more important now than ever before. It is so hard to get stuck in a negative, unhelpful frame of mind at the moment with little to give us obvious joy. That is if we look at life they way we always have looked at life. Our cultural reference points have been shifted and mangled. For instance the current obsession with Christmas and this longing for everything to go back to the way it was. This generally makes us sad as we know it will not be as it was. Hence why looking at the world through a different lens can be more helpful, by help us seek joy from other, often unrecognised parts of our world. 

So how do we make shifting our perspectives easier? Well it is quite straight forward although it does require positive action for it to become a muscle memory and more easily accessed.

Now you might think this slightly insane, but it does work, I do these exercises on a regular basis and they help me shift from my default view to an alternative. 

Make Slight Adjustments to Your Routine

Start with the beginning of your day. Where do you eat your breakfast? At the table? At a breakfast bar? On the sofa? In Bed? Well every other day just change the venue slightly, sit in a different position in the room, and just take a moment to look around you and notice how everything looks different. 

Then move on to work. Can you take slightly different route to work? Can you take the stairs instead of the lift? 

In every part of your life what can you do slightly differently, and always have a look around you and see what the world looks like, as opposed to what you always see.

View The World From A Different Angle

This might seem strange, but if you have ever been on one of my coaching courses I may have asked you to do this. 

This is best done at home as it might be considered unprofessional to do this at work. Pick a room that you spend a lot of time in, the first instance. Then find a space big enough and lay down on the floor facing the ceiling. I told you it seems a little mad but trust me it works. It helps you practice shifting your perspective. When you are on the floor look around your room. Notice the cobwebs you have missed, notice how your furniture and decor looks from this angle, look through the door and see how the rest of the house looks. You will notice things about your house that you have never noticed before. Repeat this around your house and in the garden if you dare.

Both of these activities help you notice what goes unnoticed when we carry on with our lives the same way everyday. Shifting our perspective can open up new opportunities and can help us see what is important and what is not, what we can control and what we cannot. 

The Key is Practice, Practice, Practice

Having agility in perspective taking is a habit and as with all habits, they are formed by creating new neural pathways. Neural pathways are just like paths through woods and fields, they start by you walking one way, and become formed and established through repeated use.

Creation of a habit takes practice, takes a commitment to stray off your well worn path and start a new one. So by consciously, and deliberately changing your routine and noticing the difference or changing your physical position in a room and taking in the new view you start to establish a new path and each time you do it, it becomes slightly easier to appreciate a different view point.

Eventually you start to notice when you have an entrenched or narrow view and it becomes easier to consider and look at any issue from another angle. Life is never as bad as it can seem, and conversely life might not be as good as you like it.

Perspective Taking Improves Resilience

Seeing the world from different views develops a realistic view of the world around you and reducing the risk of you missing something vital that may pose and opportunity or risk.

Now I am not saying you will always see everything, but opening yourself up to the possibility of an alternative view, gives you the opportunity to hear others perspectives and learn from them.

If we stick to one point of view we can miss so much, and fail to hear what is really happening in our world.

Doing something that appears silly can in the long run have a serious impact on how you lead your life, team and even your business.

If you want to explore more about how to shift your view and create a more cognitively diverse approach to your life and work then please drop me a line via


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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