Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Art of Maintaining Proper Perspective

By Preston Squire

Last time I spoke about The Fifth Power 'P' for Enduring Success (Perspective).

At the end of that blog entry I stated I would write tomorrow about

The Art of Maintaining Proper Perspective

Well that was about a week ago. Now whether that is a good or bad thing, depends entirely on your perspective. Many might say, well he's not living up to his commitments. He is not taking the site seriously. That I have broken the flow of daily articles. On the flip side, one might be relieved. Relieved that they had a break from daily articles. Many cannot keep up with reading one every day in their busy lives and likely needed a week to even get through the rest of the series:

The Power 'P's of Enduring Success

Personally my perspective is this: It is best to write when God inspires me to do so. When inspiration comes, the words flow, and the topic is more enjoyable to read; more impactful. When I write out of some sense of commitment, the facts may all be there, and still have value but I am just trudging through it. In the end those articles tend to read (and write) like a school text book. The information is all there but you don't enjoy the process of digesting it.

Right now, over the last couple of weeks, God has been working with me or through me to share these techniques to keep yourself going when you feel like you are about to quit. So often, far, far too often, we quit when we are closest to achieving our goals.

The primary reason we quit just shy of obtaining our dreams, is because;

"It's always darkest before the dawn" - Unknown

In a religious sense, it's when we are closest to achieving our victory that the enemy attacks us the fiercest. Things always seem to be going wrong and the end is no where in sight. So we expire. The pain of continuing out weights the pain of giving up. But that's only because we can't see how close at hand our victory is! The world is full of true life stories like this:

It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit. . . only one-mile from her goal.

Later she said, “I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it.” It wasn’t the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Florence Chadwick to fail. It was the fog.

Two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land.

- John Cochran

Source unknown

When we know victory is close at hand we have the strength to carry on but usually we can't see it.   So when your feeling like you are at the end of your rope, remember these 'P's.    

If you feel like you have been patient enough, that you just can't persist any longer, that you can no longer maintain positivity, and that prayer doesn't seem to be helping, then your problem is a lack of proper Perspective.

Perspective is a result of the questions we are asking ourselves.   If you want to gain a better perspective, you need to start asking more empowering questions.

Stop asking why is everything going wrong.  Ask what can you learn from this to help you succeed.

Stop wondering 'why me?'   Accept that challenges are a part of life and if you are experiencing a lot of them, it means growth.   Remember:

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache, carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit."  Napoleon Hill

Everything in life is a double-edged sword.   All good comes with a seed of bad and all 'bad' comes with a seed of good.  People who succeed consistently, aren't luckier or even more skilled, or more intelligent than you or the norm of society.   They are the people who reap the harvests when they come and reap the seeds for future harvests when their crops get hailed on.   They find the good in every situation and maximize it!

If you're asking 'Why me?' then you're just feeling sorry for yourself because you are only looking at the bad.  You should be getting excited because the seeds of tomorrow's dreams are in your hands now.   Ask yourself what good has come from this and how can you maximize it.

It may be hard to see at first.   If your husband of fifty years suddenly dies that can leave you feeling vulnerable, alone, overwhelmed and grieved.  But even grief is merely a chosen perspective.   Some cultures celebrate death!   They see it as the person transitioning onto something better.   Their worries, pains and suffering are all over.   In those cultures if you're feeling grieved, you are just feeling sorry for yourself.    I'm not saying it's wrong to grieve, I'm just saying we do so because our culture has taught us that it's needed, necessary and appropriate.   If you grew up in a culture were grieving was considered inappropriate, self-indulgent and shameful and that death was a blessing for those you cared about, then while you may miss you're loved one, you wouldn't be grieving over them.

In this case it may be hard to find the good as the challenges of suddenly living alone in the twilight of your years may seem overwhelming.   However, almost certainly, you would now be able to do a lot of things you couldn't or wouldn't have done while you were married.   You can enjoy a lot of new life experiences.  You may never have handled your own finances before, but having to do so needn't be scary, it can be liberating!  Suddenly you have more control over your own life than you've ever had before.   It all depends on your perspective.   Look for the good in all things.  Plant those seeds so they can grow.

Does the sense of new found freedom outweigh the loss of a loved one?  Probably not.   But focusing on those things that bring you pleasure will move you forward.  It will keep you in a better frame of mind.  It will help you to go through the less pleasant realities that must be dealt with.   It will build a better tomorrow that you can look forward to and draw strength from.

Your perspective will depend on what you decide to focus on, what you decide things mean to you and what you decide you are going to do to create the results you desire.  So choose wisely.

Sometimes things may be too raw for you to gain a proactive perspective so you need to be able to pull yourself away, mentally and emotionally if not physically to allow the tide of emotions to pass.    Centre yourself and find God.   Find balance.  If you continue to thrash around in an emotional panic the tides will drown you.   If you can pull yourself away, meditate, pray, relax and find your balance, then you can surf those waves to shore.

That doesn't need to take a long time.  Napoleon Hill, who spent his life studying the most successful people in the world noted that many of them, could be in a hectic meeting, close their eyes, withdraw from the immediate pressures into a quiet place in themselves and draw on divine intelligence for guidance.

There's nothing special about that.   Anyone can do it, but it does take practice.  First off, I recommend you get into a habit of meditating daily.   Just spend a few moments everyday, quiet, tranquil and still.   Ask a question that you need an answer too and wait for a reply.    Your head will initially cram full of thoughts, as most of us are thinking a thousand things a minute, but just thank them for their input and release them, one by one until you mind is empty.  At first you probably won't gain any insights but as you learn to relax your mind and open it; you will.   In time, you'll be able to do it at any time as well.   Just retreat to that now familiar place and listen to the familiar voice of wisdom.