I was listening to a podcast yesterday with Tim Ferriss interviewing Gabor Mate (very interesting guy if you haven’t heard of him) and towards the end of the podcast Gabor talked about his favourite quote, relating to perspective. I often talk about how having empathy for others and being mindful of the perspective of others, but this really made me see the enormity of perspective and its incredible impact on our daily lives…
Think about a time recently when something upset you and then think about how you responded.
During the interview I listened to, Tim said that there were a bunch of things that needed fixing around his home and while he was away, he had agreed with someone to come and do the work for him.
When he returned home the work wasn’t done.
Gabor asked him how that made him feel. What were the emotions he felt.
He said he felt upset and the emotions were anger and frustration.
Gabor asked him to think about why he felt angry and frustrated.
Tim responded, because I felt like the guy did not care about me or respect me.
Gabor pointed out that there could be a million and one reasons for the guy not doing the work; he could have taken ill, had a relative become ill, called out of town and so on.
We don’t respond to what happens, we respond to our perception of what happens; our interpretation.
He stated three key points:
- We choose the worse scenario/outcome
- We don’t choose, we jump to the worst conclusion automatically
- We don’t respond to the present moment, we respond to the past
Responding in this way usually goes back to childhood and the patterns of behaviour and ways in which we respond just play out over and over throughout our lives.
The more mindful you become, the more self aware you become. Being mindful is being present and so cultivating mindfulness in your life will enable you to notice your responses and gain insight into your perspective.
Think about situations in your own life where you are faced with a situation where you respond without really knowing any facts about a situation or the person you are responding to.
Our perceptions are our reality, but it doesn’t make them true.
Mindfulness gives you a fresh perspective. A perspective where you can see things as they really are and because you are present, you cannot be on autopilot at the same time, – meaning you are less likely to jump to a conclusion, based on an automatic response that comes from past. You cannot be in the past if you are present.
This doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch. Mindfulness is a practice and as such needs practising daily.
If you wanted to listen to Tim Ferriss’ interview with Gabor Mate, you can find it here on the Tim Ferriss Podcast.
[The image is one I took in San Francisco, where my sister lives. I visit often and have taken so many photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge, but each time I seem to find a new perspective and the photographs always seem different…]