The title above is a quote attributed to the prominent writer Anaïs Nin in 1961, this maxim was better articulated by the late great Stephen Covey in his best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when he quoted that “each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves – that is, our perceptions, our paradigms.”
And of course, our perceptions and presumptions and prejudices and preconceptions can dramatically alter the way we perceive the world. In Napoleon Hill’s famous self-help book Think and Grow Rich Hill interprets this saying in a similar way…”to put it plainly, seeing is not believing -believing is seeing. We see things not as they are, but as we are. Our perceptions are shaped by our previous experiences.”
Never has this old adage meant so much (to me at least) than right now, with all that is happening across the world, as we enter another week of lockdown due to the COVID19 virus.
We all appear to be seeing things from so many different perspectives, resulting in so many different experiences of this pandemic for each of us, don’t we?
Some of us have given in already – we’ve accepted our fate and gone and buried our heads under the duvet or in the sand or god forbid, stuck it in the metaphorical oven, burning all we’ve got to dust and praying for some kind of miracle to resurrect us from the ashes.
Some of us have gone into pretence or rather, denial about the situation. We’re refusing to turn on the BBC news or listen to the radio or muscle in on the over-the-fence gossip (2 clear metres apart, obviously) our neighbours are having about the enormity of our plight – sticking our fingers in our ears at the slightest whiff or mention of the dreaded C word, pretending nothing is actually happening outside our insular world. Ignorance really does feel like bliss, when we assume this stance!
Then there are those of us who are getting angry and frustrated – and we’re using this negative energy in many different ways. One day it’s a good thing that we’re losing our tempers, because it’s fuelling our fire to take proper ACTION, like clearing out cupboards, repainting walls, spring-cleaning the kitchen or writing that book we’ve never ever got round to before now.
Then there are other days when the negative energy takes hold – we lose it with our loved ones, our kids, the neighbours who constantly moan about a situation that has hardly impacted them at all (coz they’re happily retired and don’t have a single money worry in the world) or we find ourselves screaming at the politicians on TV or stomping around the house, talking out loud to no one listening or even go fruit-loop altogether and throw things around the bedroom, aimlessly firing at anything or anyone in our wake!
Then there are the bravest few – yes sadly, I believe these types are in the minority when it comes to taking on the most effective perspective at catastrophic times like this. They truly do get it. They understand that maxim all too well…
“We do not see things as they are – we see them as we are” (Anias Nin)
“We see the world not as it is, but as we are” (Stephen Covey)
“We see things not as they are, but as we are” (Napoleon Hill)
Whatever way you slice it, all means the same thing. Perception is just everyone else’s reality. Fact.
These brave few men and women are CHOOSING to see things from a different perspective right now. They know for sure that they cannot change what is happening in the world right now, although they also know that they sure as hell can change their way of dealing with what’s happening in the world right now. They’re choosing to focus on all those things that are within their control – rather than festering on all those things that aren’t. And that’s what they’re doing – learning to PIVOT all the things in their control – what they do, what they say, who they are! Flexing their approach, their ethos, their practices, their methodologies, their very being. They’re stretching outside their hoola-hoop like never before! Sure, it’s a little uncomfortable for them. They’re only human too remember.
However, they know that they absolutely have to lose sight of the shore if they want to experience new horizons, so they’re prepared to do the hard work now, that’ll make the recovery easier. Because we will recover. This too shall pass. Lessons will be learned. Insights will be had and who knows, we may even be a better human race at the end of it all.
So, whose camp are you in right now?
Remember, we don’t see the world as it is – we see it as we are – so who are you?
The great news is, there’s never been a better time to be (or become) whoever you want to be!
I for one, am choosing to see things from a positive and optimistic viewpoint. No, not a fluffy woo-woo one, in case you’re wondering. Just working smart to build my resilience, my commitment (to myself and my business), my inner strength, my mindset, my life’s philosophy.
Yes indeed, opportunities are NOW HERE – that’s definitely MY perspective this week!
Until next time – stay safe, stay sane & stay FIT!