To change your life, you need to change how you look at it
Photo by Bestbe Models
Can you spot a gorilla?
In The Invisible Gorilla test, people were asked to count basketball passes. Little did they know that the important question was:
Did you see the gorilla?
According to the study, 50% of people didn’t. It wasn’t hidden. A person in a gorilla suit was standing in the middle of the screen, pounding its chest.
This means our attention is selective. We see what we focus on.
How knowing this can improve your life?
You have proof that your map of the world is incomplete. So, whatever you think about reality is not the reality. Two people can feel different things watching the same picture. And that’s the matter of their perspective.
If you ask yourself how miserable, unfulfilled, or stressed people are, that’s what you’ll see.
Three years ago, when I thought about waking up at 5 a.m. I felt sick. Why would I get up at night? I could only think about how tired I’d be and how I liked the warmth of my bed. And now I feel envigorated, even though I sleep hotter and sometimes I’m tired. Because I see the liveliness in me when I walk through the forest with my girlfriend, discussing what we plan for the day.
Simply put, I was blind to the joy of using opportunities to do what I loved before work.
They were there, and I couldn’t see them. So, my joy in life comes from what I think about it. This realization is why changing my perspective changed my life. I did it by learning gratitude. Now, it’s your turn.
Increse the joy and reduce the pain today!
Brain Play Tricks on You That Make You Suffer
Your attention builds your world.
In truth, it builds your representation of the world, a map of it. And the map is never the terrain. It’s a simplified version of it. It’s good to orient around, but not enough to describe it in detail.
The brain takes shortcuts because it can’t process all the information.
I’ll talk about two tricks: confirmation bias and frequency illusion. Together, they have a strong influence over what is visible to you. Get to know them so you can consciously react to them and not get bamboozled again.
It’s easier to notice what we agree with.
What I knew was that things were not right. I spend days regretting what I did, only to do it again the day after. The world was a pitiful place, filled with suffering. And that is true. But not the only truth.
The world is also filled with love, exploration, and joy.
What you see depends on your lens.
When you buy a new red car, suddenly, you see red cars everywhere.
This is what the frequency illusion is about. When you concentrate on something, your brain notices it more often.
If you focus on pain, you’ll see pain.
The bottom line is your brain gives you more of what is already there. Your job is to provide means to balance negative with positive. It’s all about perspective.
Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full
Why not both?
Jim Rohn said that both are true. Our lives are full of worries but also full of hopes.
The problem is we focus on one side too much. We love it when things are simple. When you see any event as it is, you start to understand it has no meaning. It’s pure potential. Without you, it just is.
Think of it.
What if it’s you who gives value to events? What if nothing in the event itself means it’s good or bad? Until you give it value, the event is good, bad, unwanted, and desired simultaneously.
It may sound weird, but it counters the default biases that force us to see the world in a certain way.
Five years ago, I shivered when I thought about my future. I couldn’t afford to buy a flat. My job was stressful. What if a better programmer replaces me, or I’ll get sick? Instead of enjoying the freedom of working with great people from home and having money for food, fun, learning, and travel, I lamented about a possible sad future. My perspective forced me to see what’s wrong with the world.
Was it accurate?
Because I preferred to drink than to live. I didn’t want to feel alone, rejected, and worthless, but that was my focus. My map of reality was shitty.
The goal of creating a map is to be able to travel with it.
You don’t want to lament about how horrible point A is. You want to get from point A to point B. So you can get the results you want. And to get what I wanted, I had to see the positive side.
I had to understand how magnificent is the world around me. I had to appreciate my family and myself.
Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don’t lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried.Epictetus, Enchiridion, 43
Learn How to Be Grateful
Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.Zig Ziglar
Do you know how I transformed from being a drunk nihilist into a writer, team leader & software dev?
I practiced gratitude.
And I’ll give you my practice and all I know about it. Before that, know that you don’t have to sit down and write what you’re grateful for. You can give help and ask for help.
I feel you. And that’s why practicing gratitude will help you.
My biggest challenge was admitting that our kind is worthy of living on earth. When I see people not washing their hands after shitting or smoking in front of their kids, I have problems with that. But most of the time, we’re doing great. You should wash your hands after you shit man, but even if you don’t, you can still be decent. Ok, I still struggle to admit that we all are worthy of living on earth.
But I consider it.
I’m no longer against humanity, including myself. I like some people. I love how we handle living in uncertainty with all those emotions and feelings inside us.
It was possible because I stuck to a simple practice.
5-minute gratitude practice
Recently, I learned that gratitude works best when it’s received.
And it also works when you see how others receive gratitude. So, I watched a story on YouTube and spent a minute thinking about a situation where my girlfriend thanked me for doing something for her. The key in the story is that it moves us. We can’t talk ourselves into feeling grateful. In short, look for a story that resonates with you.
The source of my knowledge was Andrew Huberman. Here is how to build your practice on YouTube.
- Watch a story where someone gives or receives gratitude
- You can start with this one
- Write three to five things you’re grateful for to what suits you.
- Practice regularly. Daily is best (including weekends)
Gratitude counters negativity.
Thanks to making myself sensitive to it, I could notice how much I already had. That helped wake up the positive side in me. I still love complaining and am quite hostile toward new ideas, but now I’m not only it. Because it’s helpful to look for potential problems in an idea, but it’s also beneficial to see the potential benefits. With a one-sided view, I was losing my life.
You can have all the above and more by practicing gratitude.
When someone praises you, take it and become radiant with joy. Thank the person, and appreciate the gesture. And then, when the time comes, thank others for doing good for you. Share your gratitude.
In the meantime, use the protocol for gratitude consisting of watching how people receive or give gratitude, and include writing what you’re grateful for.
It worked for me well. Writing what I’m grateful for gave me the life I have. Try it. If there will be no results in six months, drop it.
Take your perspective on life in your hands and start your days with a smile, waiting for another challenge to tackle.
Now, what does your gratitude practice look like?
To get what I want, I must know who I am. And after years of searching, I discovered the tool that helped — a personal journal.
Get My Free Journaling Course to find out who you are, what you want, and how you can get it.