Building Perspective

Perspective is a thought process for looking at your life from multiple points of views, belief systems and timeframes. If you don’t have a system for regularly incorporating perspective into your life you are not achieving your maximum potential.

Here is an irrefutable fact: Who you are at the start of a journey is not who you will be at the end. Assessing yourself at regular intervals throughout the course of your life is important for achieving satisfaction.

Let’s assume you have started a new long term project, like this blog. You build yourself a strategy and understand that a successful outcome will require a lot of hard work with deferred gratification.

Ie: Just because I’m writing doesn’t mean anyone is reading.

But you have a clearly defined outcome and a well structured plan for reaching it. You have the steps you will take day in and day out. You know results aren’t instant and worrying about measurement may derail your motivation.

Despite the importance of buying into deferred gratification, you still need to look at your work as an iterative learning cycle. Incorporating different perspectives as you analyze your work helps to assess your progress and determine how to optimize your efforts to achieve your longterm goals.

Assessing progress beyond your daily perspective can help determine that your work is taking you down the wrong path and course correction is required.

Or, you may in fact determine that you enjoy working towards a different goal and can optimize your workflow to achieve that new objective.

Regardless of whether or not your circumstances have changed, it’s important to have a system in place to assess yourself and your progress.

While in business school, I incorporated quarterly personal reviews. My goal was to determine whether or not I was achieving what I set out to accomplish and figure out how to course correct. Taking the time to build perspective was a therapeutic process for me. It allowed me to diretly address the things that were making me unhappy or frustrated by building processes to address them or removing them altogether.

As an example, I was frustrated that I didn’t seem to have time to go to the gym on a regular basis. I had a lot of inconsistent meetings that popped up throughout the day. The lack of consistency at the gym was frustrating because it was a strategic goal I had set for myself. I figured out that unpredictable days in school was an unchangeable fact and so I had to look for a solution that wouldn’t put me in conflict with that fact. My approach was to manufacture time for myself. Waking up earlier than I wanted to get a consistent block of time to get to the gym.

Having set aside time to focus on recurring issues allowed me to optimize my life to better achieve my goals. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice one goal for another. The process helped me from a mental standpoint of aligning all my priorities to work in harmony. If you constantly keep your head down focused on your day to day work, you may be losing out on valuable growth opportunities.

The other takeaway I have from doing these reviews is that who we are at the start is not who we are at the finish. My goals and priorities shifted dramatically in the 2 years that I was at school. Life changes us. It’s important to make sure that the effort we expend everyday aligns with our changing goals and ambitions. We work so hard, for many hours a day, for such an extended period of our lives that it would be a shame to not seek alignment with our goals.

I believe working towards old goals and ambitions is a major source of unhappiness in society. Taking regular time to introspect and align our efforts with our changing motivations is so important to feeling fulfilled and happy.

Regardless of who you are and what you are working on build yourself a system for maintaining perspective. Its one of the more important things you can do for yourself.

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