A Different Perspective

Our perspective can so often de-rail our best efforts, can’t it?

I used to be a rabid reader. It was nothing to devour five or ten books a week. Nowadays, I have a two foot stack of books beside me at my desk, at least a hundred on Kindle, and a few strategically placed around the house. Can you relate?

I also have subscriptions to three newspapers and at least fifteen different (really good) newsletters. Funny how those get more attention now than the books. I suppose I still read – just in other forms.

I have cultivated various sources to add diversity of thought and keep my brain churning in the direction I prefer. In addition, I’ve always greatly respected thinkers and thought leaders outside North America. So I’ve got creatives, philosophers and spiritualists, business, life, environment, gardening and feng shui — for starters.

Here’s the bottom line

All my life, I have scrambled to catch up and then scrambled to stay that way. Because being perfectly well-read is what I thought I needed to be. So, running to catch up is in my DNA.

Today, I want to share a delightful Japanese lady named Kaki Okumura. She has an interesting take on how the Japanese view the perfection imperfection mirror.

“Many of us start our day with the feeling that we are behind. Behind in work, school, health goals, finances, or relationships. Prolonged, we end up feeling like we are spending our whole lives trying to catch up– catching up to who or what is not always exactly obvious, but we know we’re running behind.

And so we end up burnt out.

If you often find yourself in this position of never being productive enough, always behind, and overwhelmed by the prospect of how much you still have left to do, I offer a different perspective:

Just so you know – you are already caught up, and anything you accomplish today is progress.

It’s two very different perspectives: Scrambling to catch up versus simply making progress. So even when what we accomplish in a day is the exact same, emotionally, we will end the day on very different levels.

When we take on the perspective of catch-up, we may lie in bed stressing about what we didn’t finish and what we need to do tomorrow. We hold little compassion and empathy for ourselves. We feel like a mess and out of control.

Taken too far, we find ourselves overwhelmed, burnt out, and needing to take far more time to recover.

But when we choose the perspective of progress, we let ourselves feel accomplished, productive, and confident. We’re moving ahead and feeling energized by it.

We can take rest when we need it, rather than feeling guilt over the prospect of doing nothing.”

Fascinating right?

To be honest, I need help squaring this viewpoint with the traditional work culture in Japan, which emphasizes extreme dedication to one’s work. Yet there is so much value to looking at life this way.

Suddenly, my tall reading piles look doable. I AM making progress — albeit at a more leisurely pace.

I want to ask you.

How many times in your day could you reframe your perspective to simply making progress from scrambling to catch-up?

After all, life is not a race to the finish line. Rather, life is a series of progressions from one point to the next.

Spinning mirror ball for BPYBN

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