A few weeks ago, I received an alarming call from a dear friend that her (our) baby sister was rushed to the hospital. She’d been fighting breast cancer at an alternative treatment center and had a scare concerning fluid in her lungs. She was not doing well. I dropped everything and headed out to San Diego. I couldn’t have imagined how that Saturday through Wednesday morning would make me look at my reality with a new perspective.
Throughout the weekend and beginning of the week, the Dr.’s told us how her vitals were not stable, her liver was enlarged, the cancer was spreading and finally that she had fluid on her lungs which was causing her shortness of breadth. The prognosis was clearly bad.
Despite the Dr.’s report, every night my little sister dialed into a prayer call, we set up, and she prayed with the group.
The interesting thing to note, is that she didn’t petition for God to heal her, or to make everything right again. Instead, she thanked Him for bringing all of us together on the call, she prayed for others, she prayed for the strength of those around her, but mostly she simply said “thank you” for life, for love and for fellowship. I was floored.
I don’t tell this story to be depressing, but for us to think about what perspective we are using to create our reality.
I’ll circle back to this extraordinary young woman, but want to take a moment to look back at history, where we see notable figures who clearly understood their reality, and quickly changed their perspective to alter it.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, saw a world where people were not created equal, where people were clearly discriminated against. That was a fact. However, at the same time, he saw a human need to connect and a deeper existence than the one we were seeing displayed in the world. He used his new found perspective to create a new reality that continues to be altered even today.
- We look at people like President Barack Obama who saw a reality in this country of our soldiers fighting over seas, the deficit building and people losing hope. Instead accepting it, he changed his perspective to see a place where number one, he could even, as a multi-national brown person, could be president, where people could join together, have greater hope in their future and come together on one accord for the human cause.
- Lonnie Johnson saw a reality that children were not getting wet enough while having water gun fights, he changed his perspective and created the Power Drencher or what is now known as the “super soaker” water gun.
There are many, many other notable figures (African American and otherwise) that I could name who saw a reality and decided to change how they were looking at it.
The power of the perspective is that at any time, you can change your reality. In my latest book, “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensations, I talk about gaining new perspectives in seven key areas, aesthetically, relationally, spiritually, emotionally, financially, professionally, and parentally.
Today, I’m asking you to use the foundation that those before us so tirelessly and diligently built, using new perspectives for each new building block, to see your new realities everyday.
Here are a few ways I believe you can use perspective to change your reality in any area of your life:
- Look at your reality from your current vantage point
- First determine the goal from what you see
- Assess the obstacles in your way to achieving the goal
- Take a look at them from many angles. Sometimes you realize that while an obstacle is 20 feet high, it’s only 3 feet wide.
- Write down all of the ways you can get over, under, through, around or even remove it.
- Look at the most feasible ways to do so.
- Make a plan to begin.
- Hold yourself accountable (you may need help)
- Reassess. Sometimes obstacles change.
The benefits to changing our perspective are numerous and include less stress, intentional progress, higher levels of defined success, more effective, more unique and robust solutions, higher levels of collaboration, greater impact and more peace in our lives.
My “little sister”, who ultimately (on February 10) and unfortunately lost her battle with breast cancer, continued to use perspective to change her reality. Instead of seeing herself as a person who was fighting a disease, she saw herself as a convener of people for the sake of worship. Instead of complaining about her pain, she found small silver linings to make her smile. Instead of asking “why me?”, she ask the Lord to please send her.
Move around in your life to find different angles to adjust your perspective and to ultimately adjust your reality.
Founder of Evidently Assured Strategy Firm and the Founder of the Live Your Truth Experience (L.Y.T.E.). Monica is the Author of the new life changing book “The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to live an authentic life with awesome sensation.” Email her at: [email protected]. Follow her via Twitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost. www.monicacost.com.