One of the things that excites me most about meeting new people, is the opportunity that brings to see things from an alternative perspective. We all have our own unique take on the world, and by the time we reach adulthood, a lot of our opinions are firmly fixed.
The point is, this single image can evoke so many different emotional responses, depending each individual’s own story. Wouldn’t it be great to try and understand someone else’s view on occasion? Imagine how much easier it would be to engage with and relate to people, if we took the time to walk in their shoes, and take a different view.
I suppose this applies to both our professional and personal lives, there being space for growth at every new stage if we are willing to embrace it.
Last month, I took five days off work to attend a residential Playwriting course through Arvon in Shropshire. The course was fabulous, from start to finish, and I am delighted I gave myself permission to do something just for me. During that week, I learnt a lot about perception and the various ways our own negative impressions of ourselves can limit us.
A Different View
Fellow attendees couldn’t understand how I didn’t refer to myself as a writer, given that I have been writing children’s community plays for around a decade. For some reason, I have never seen that as justification to take on the title. When we were welcomed into the late John Osborne’s stunning home, we were greeted as Writers.
It was accepted that while we were in that house, on that course, developing our craft, we were all writers, regardless of the day jobs we had temporarily left behind. So that’s what we all called ourselves.
Could That Really Change Anything?
You would be forgiven for questioning how five days could be life-changing. Yet having carried an idea for a play around in my head for about a year without feeling able to envisage taking it beyond a concept, all of a sudden, something was unlocked. I was finally able to see clearly exactly what I wanted to write. Not only that, but I wrote half of the play before I set off for home.
Of course, the environment contributed, as did the seminars and tutorials I attended, but the biggest shift was in my own ability to recognise myself as a writer. I told myself I was one, so I was able to be one.
A Little Positivity Goes A Long, Long Way
It is true that not everything can be achieved simply by telling ourselves so. That said, with a positive outlook, we are far more likely to accomplish at least a proportion of our goals. I can’t give you a percentage or a statistic. There is no quantitative data to back this assertion up, but I have always believed it to be common sense to a degree. Positivity begets positivity.
If I went into a training session feeling nervous, with a negative demeanour and a can’t-do attitude, I would give off an entirely destructive vibe, inspiring no faith in my client-group. I would seem incompetent and lacking in the relevant skills. In short, if I don’t believe in myself, nobody else is going to.
So How Can We Nurture Positivity?
There is no set way to achieve a positive outlook, but once you find the key, it is essential you hang onto it. A positive mind is a precious thing; one to be valued, fed and nurtured in order for it to thrive.
A great trick is to create some affirmations for yourself. These could relate to personal goals or career-orientated ones, but they must be written with a positive slant. It may be as simple as telling yourself: ‘I am good at my job – I deserve praise’ to try and address insecurity in the workplace, and find ways to cope with accepting compliments. In this instance, you would set yourself a target of repeating the mantra a certain number of times per day. It is very important to stick to these resolutions, as that demonstrates your commitment to taking a different view.
Through regular repetition of such a self-validating statement, you will gradually notice yourself walking a little taller, holding your head a little higher and feeling a little better about your abilities overall. It is only a matter of time before other people notice it too. Eventually, they will also start believing in you that little bit more than before. They won’t register it as a conscious change in their opinion of you. They will just begin to feel more confident in your presence, therefore trusting you more easily.
Once you are on the ferris wheel of positivity, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. All you have to do, is give yourself permission not to vacate your seat.
Try It Yourself – Take A Different View
There are infinite ways of approaching life positively; all it takes is a little trial and error. So why not have a go this week? When you feel yourself tumbling down the pessimists’ path, put the brakes on and turn around. All you have to do, is take a different view.