What you see is what you get.

What you see is what you get.

My husband and I enjoy going to Disney World. One of the things we know about visiting central Florida during the summer, is that it is very hot and humid.  Along with that comes the almost daily mid-afternoon thunderstorms. They typically roll out as quickly as they came in and then the sunshine once again returns.

So knowing about the weather patterns in Florida and the cost of things in Disney World, I decided to go prepared and purchased rain ponchos before we left. The store I went to carried several ponchos with varying degrees of quality. I bought two for each of us - one cost 99¢ and the other cost $3.99.

The first morning we were there, we carried a backpack into the park with important things like suntan lotion, snacks and of course, the rain ponchos. I decided to just take the $3.99 ones because I felt they would last longer, perhaps even for the entire trip.

Sure enough, in mid-afternoon the dark clouds rolled in and the rain poured down. We were so happy to be prepared with our ponchos. When the rain stopped, we folded the ponchos and stored them in our backpack for the next use. The following three days were repeats of the first. 

As we got ready to leave and packed our suitcases on our last day, I found the other new ponchos that I had purchased. I took one look at them and shared a good chuckle with my husband. The ones that we had used for four days, were actually the 99¢ ones! 

Our perception was that we were using the more expensive, higher quality ponchos. We treated them that way, and they held up. 

Our perception is our reality. The way we perceive things is the way we will react to it.

It’s interesting to watch how two people might react to the same situation. For one person, being stuck in traffic can cause angry feelings that may last for hours.  For another person, the same situation might be mildly annoying but does not ruin their entire day.

We all have filters in the way we experience the world. They could be based on our family values, culture, personal history or the thousands of pieces of information that we are flooded with on a daily basis. These filters have an influence our perspective.

Sometimes our perception can really limit us. 

At times we become so focused on minor, insignificant things, that we lose sight of what matters most. For some, a major life setback, such as loss of job or illness, provides an opportunity to stop and see the big picture and gain a new perspective on life. It reminds us of what is really important.

The TV show Undercover Boss is a great example of a way to gain a new perspective. The show is about a CEO or owner of a company who goes undercover and works in his or her own company as an employee. They truly walk in the shoes of their employees and are able to understand first hand the daily struggles they face. 

When feeling stuck, sometimes all that is needed is a new perspective, a different point of view. Below are some of the many ways to do this.

  • You could ask a friend or someone whose opinion you value for their take on the situation.

  • Take a walk. A recent study at Stanford University found that walking substantially increases creativity  

  • Spend some time in nature, maybe at the beach or in the mountains to relax and open your mind to new possibilities.

  • Read a different kind of book then you usually read.

  • Imagine that you can float up high above the situation. From this vantage point you can see the big picture and view it in a much broader way.

A shift in perspective can make a huge difference in the way you feel and react.

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