Every New Year’s, lofts of people actively decide to make some long term positive change in their lives, be it physical, financial, psychological, or emotional. Despite the admiration we have for these New Year’s resolutions and the people who strive to see them manifest, nearly 90% of resolutions never come to fruition. Of course, the reasons for such vary. But one change that doesn’t seem to be as popular as wanting to exercise or volunteer more is the change we have the most power to enact: ourselves. How we approach and understand what happens can separate the life lesson from the tragic, the revelation from the failures, and the strengths from the struggles. But like all good New Year’s resolutions, you have to start with modest goals.
Undoubtedly, changing your perception can seem like an overwhelming goal; it’s not easy to change who you are or who you’ve always been. But it can be done. But before you can change your outlook, you have to change your perspective. What’s the difference? You might say that your perspective precedes your perception: it is simply the way that you view things. Perception, on the other hand, is how you interpret it all using past experiences, personal beliefs– basically the emotional part. Before you can change perception, your perspective must involve some empathy. Being able to see things from others’ viewpoint is key in understanding their motivations, actions, and goals. When you can set your viewpoint aside and shift to (or attempt to shift) to someone’s perspective, you gain insight and respect for those people– and start to lose infectious negative thinking or prejudices.
It’s a lot of information to handle when trying to do this perspective-shifting and keeping your own intrusive feelings from dictating how you feel about someone or something. For this, brain games come in handy more than you think. Signs of a refined intellect include multitasking and coordination, and brain puzzles like those found on Lumosity and Sharp Brains can help your brain function more efficiently and quickly, which in turn can help you shuffle between your feelings, others’ feelings, and what you take away from your initial approach to an experience or person.
It’s really easy to place judgment or an assumption on a stranger, especially when we’re not in the best of moods or have other problems on our minds. This is where your test of perception comes to play: set aside all those things that you might associate with this person or experience and have a fresh attitude. Put simply, be unassuming. That’s not to say your intuition should be shelved; rather, those judgments that would inhibit the type of person that another could be should be shelved. Like you, everyone has things that make them smile or tick, and when you consider that and the fact that they are likely just like you and want the same things, it’s easy to understand them without assumptions.
The mind is a very powerful tool, and it can provide us with more fruitful and sustained happiness. And in the end, it’s not what you think that matters to others, but what you do is what will ultimately shape your reputation and opportunities. A New Year– and new everything– comes from the way you understand yourself and everything around you.