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Yes, I Can Develop a New Perspective

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

This is part 4 in my series, “Focus on Your Self-Evaluation.”
Part 1: A Guide to Developing Character and Wisdom
Part 2: You Will Become What You Focus On
Part 3: Step Out. Risk!

Life’s opportunities

Opportunities come in unexpected ways. Once we decide to look for them, we find ourselves surprised and excited to discover them.

Instead of blaming others for your problems and nurturing grievances and resentments that keep you from seeing a new perspective, ask yourself:

What choices will move me toward new opportunities?

A new perspective

Years ago, I worked for a company that helped injured workers in chronic pain recover and re-enter the workplace. Some had been injured on the job, even with all the safety precautions.

As part of their rehabilitation and recovery program, they were required to attend a two-week all-day class. Most were not happy to be there; in fact, some were downright hostile.

Some didn’t let go of what had happened to them. They were angry at the injustice and did not want to hear about ways they could re-frame their circumstances. They hung on to their grievances and left with the same bitterness they were generating when they arrived.

Others began to transform their attitudes and mindset. It was amazing to watch this metamorphosis from hopelessness, despondency, and anger to one of possibility, hope, and motivation.

One woman in particular resonated with me. Her injury left her unable to continue in her job. She would have to be retrained in some other line of work. Her benefits would soon run out. She was a single mom living in a tiny one-bedroom house and the enormity of her losses was severe. Life seemed grim and hopeless.

After the first week of class, she returned the following Monday, glowing. She was not the same person who left on Friday. She shared with the class what had happened to change her outlook. She had gone home and thought about the information we offered and decided to apply it to her situation. The first thing she did was “re-frame” how she looked at her current situation.

She went through her cramped house room by room, looking at it with a new perspective. She decided to give that one tiny bedroom to her children and make the living room her bedroom.

During the day it was a living room, but at night it became a cozy, spacious bedroom. She positioned the sofa bed in front of the fireplace, and when she crawled into her “bed” at night, she lit a fire in the fireplace.

As she snuggled down to watch the flames, she thought, “How many people do I know who have a fireplace in their bedroom?”

She helped her children convert her old bedroom into their special space. They were happy and she was happy. She told us that, for the first time in years, she slept soundly.

What had changed?

Her perspective.

During the remainder of that week in class, she actively sought out information about re-training and potential jobs. She was excited about the potential of a new job that paid more than her previous job.

Was she going to struggle?


Would it take hard work?


Would she still have to live with limiting conditions?


But she would be bringing into that space a new outlook – a new perspective – that held possibility, options, and renewed energy.

We may experience events that seem catastrophic, limiting, and hopeless. But within each of us is the ability to take what we have and create something new from it.

Out of the ashes of one disaster we can create the promise of a new beginning – a new opportunity – if we are willing to grow and change.

Yes, I can, and I want to!

The greatest obstacle we may face is ourselves.

When faced with losses, conflict, or unexpected tragedies, what do you say to yourself?

Do you look at these times as opportunities to advance?

Or do you respond, “Oh, no. Here we go again,” and sink into depression and anxiety?

When things go bad, we rarely think of the circumstances as an opportunity. And yet, this is the very place where we can explore what has worked for us in the past and what new options might make our lives soar.

Determining how you will respond to circumstances may be the biggest and most important lifestyle change you ever make.

Do this quick inventory:

  1. How have you handled difficulties in the past?
  2. What did you do?
  3. What worked and what didn’t work?
  4. How did you feel?
  5. What would you do differently?
  6. What would you do again?
  7. How can you turn that challenge into a new opportunity?

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