The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice over how you view it – Chris Pine
Perspective is everything when you are facing the challenges of life – Joni Eareckson Tada
I once designed an experiment with my friends that involved a half filled cup of water. My objective to see to see how many people would consider the cup half full and how many would consider it half empty.
So I decided to split my friends into two groups of four – a blue group and a green group. Next, I set up meetings with each person in the two groups over the course of a month.
When meeting with those in the blue group, I kept the cup empty at the start of our meeting and then filled up the cup five minutes before I had to leave and then asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.
With the green group, I kept the cup full at the start of our meeting. Then I drank half the water in the cup five minutes before leaving, and asked if they considered the cup half full or half-empty.
The result: 3 out of 4 people in the blue group considered the cup half full. 3 out of 4 people in the green group considered the cup half empty.
When I asked the people in the blue group why they saw the cup as half full, they said the cup was previously empty and now it was half full. When I asked the people in the green group why they saw the cup as half empty, they said the cup was previously full and now it wasn’t. It seemed both the blue and green group looked at the current state of the cup through the lens of the previous state of the cup.
Like those in the blue and green group, our perspective of our current state is highly dependent on our previous experience.
For example, a girl who has only ever slept on a memory foam mattress may see having to downgrade to a spring mattress as a shocker and so experience a measure of anxiety over the situation. This is like going from the glass being half full to half empty.
On the other hand, a girl who has only ever slept on a thin mat may see going to a spring mattress as fantastic development and so experience a measure of happiness. This is like going from the glass being empty to being half full.
The key to developing a well rounded perspective is to subject ourselves to a myriad of experiences that range from the cup being empty to the cup being full
If you have only had full cup experiences, you should design a controlled experiment where you see an empty cup.
Many times, we get depressed when things are not the way we think or expect them to be. What perspective does is change the way we think or expect them to be. The more variety we experience, the more well-rounded our perspective. The more well-rounded our perspective, the less likely we are to be anxious or depressed over a particular situation.
Our experiences change our perspective and our perspective change our expectations
So give yourself the gift of perspective today. Go down to the homeless shelter. Listen to the story of a person whose life has been ravaged by drugs. Watch the story of a single who went from rags to riches.
You must do these things for it to really sink in. Knowing that there are people out that have it worse than you won’t be as effective.
Know that it will not always be the way it is today.
Things do and will change.