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How to look at things in a different way.

Life is all about perspective. Rose colored or pitch black, lens color makes all the difference.

How we choose to see the world dictates our entire life experience. And make no mistake, it IS a choice.

Unfortunately, it’s often a passive choice. IE, the way we see things is usually the way we’ve always seen things … hence our wildly unhappy world.

Many of us get stuck what Dr. Mario Martinez calls a “blinding loop” — unable to see beyond the stuff we’re used to. Basically, our brain greets similar situations with a pre-recorded reaction. We’re wearing blinders.

The good news is, we can alter our perspective. It just takes conscious course correction.

I used to be frequently, easily annoyed. Minorly inconvenient circumstances, people’s foibles, a long line in the Starbucks drive-through — any or all of the above would rub me the wrong way. But now, I make an effort to turn everything around. Because being annoyed all the time is, well, annoying.

Take a traffic jam, for instance. One of the great evils of modern civilization, some would argue. Most of us take these (frequent) opportunities to stir up a vat of good, old fashioned road rage. We shout; we pound our poor, defenseless steering wheels; we fume endlessly about idiot drivers or incompetents at the DOT or lazy construction workers. It’s someone else’s fault, and we’re missing Algeria versus Russia, dammit.

But there are other ways to look at it. Everyone’s busy these days, so. damn. busy. A traffic jam is a perfect opportunity to chillax. To listen to tunes, a book on Audible or some positive affirmations. It’s free time. Or, you could talk on the phone (with a hands-free device, natch); check out car models you dig; throw thumbs up at folks with “My kid is on the honor roll” bumper stickers. Whatever.

Another common situation everyone abhors: waiting on line. Instead of stewing in your own frustration, you could see it as an opportunity to practice patience, to learn more about the folks around you, to recite your Spanish vernacular.

A client doesn’t like your work product: it’s an opportunity to try again with a new, creative angle you hadn’t approached before. Your BFF moves away: it’s a chance to get revisit snail mail and visit a totally new locale. The hairdresser cuts your tresses wayyyyyyy too short: pixie cuts are in and you desperately needed a change.

My point is this — everything has alternative angles. We can always find a new way to approach an old scenario. Sometimes it just takes a little inventiveness.

Next time you’re faced with a circumstance that seems less than fantastic (which can be almost anything, particularly if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist), consciously turn it around. Gently push yourself to find an alternative way of approaching the situation. Find the silver lining — the bright side — the blue sky. Or invent it.

Eventually, it’ll get easier to see the rosier side of things. Like a savvy raconteur, you’ll train yourself to tell new stories. And soon, you’ll be able to strategize a positive outlook in any situation. That’s when the grass starts glowing green from every angle.

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