Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.
— Wayne W. Dyer
We want things to get better. We see many things we want to change. There is a polarization around religion and politics that are gaining momentum. The battle between science and religion is more evident. Religious extremists want to take us back to the 12th Century and science wants to move us to the 21st Century.
Change the Way You Look at Things
Why should you change the way to see things? Because if we change our perception, we learn and grow. That’s the foundation for making things better.
The first thing we need to change is our approach. This doesn’t mean we should empathize and agree, especially if their position is one that is harmful. What we need to do is set aside our emotions so that we can understand how they came to their conclusions.
We don’t have to give up anything. All we need to do is expand our awareness. We may disagree with their opinion and actions. The task is to understand why they believe that things they do. Otherwise, the conflict of differing worldviews leads to frustration.
The Social Arena
People on both sides are not engaging in meaningful dialogue about global issues. This lack of dialogue only leads to more polarization. The next time you face this dilemma, reverse your focus. Instead of trying to change things first, stop, listen and think. Ask questions about why they believe what they do. Change the way you look at the issue. Change the way you think about them.
This will help you develop a new perspective. When you engage them in this way it calms their emotions and disarms their attack. To do this, you need to overcome two things. Must overcome our emotional response to them and the issue. We must also overcome the propaganda that bombards us.
The idea here is not to change their minds but to get them to question what they believe. Don’t be surprised if you find this leads to a discussion about what they hate or makes them angry. The source of these emotions is what drives all bias and prejudice.
The second thing we need to deal with is our Ego. Our personality likes to control what we think to maintain control. If we are to see things differently, we need to understand our self-talk and remove any negative scripts. The Enneagram of Personality is the best tool for finding the default self-talk scripts for your personality type. Your personality isn’t a bad thing. It’s a necessary tool of consciousness, but few people learn when to turn it off.
This is a rather simple strategy, but it’s hard to implement. That’s because routines run our lives. Routines make things easier. We don’t have to think consciously about what we need to do. But routines make it easy to slip into bad habits. If we want to see things differently, we need to start with ourselves.
There are two common bad habits. The first is the hypnotic effect of being entertained. When we are entertained we lose ourselves, we lose time. This is a waste of opportunities within life. The second common bad habit is reducing our social interaction with people who have a different point of view.
How do you change the way you look at things? It takes just three steps. The first step is always the hardest one. But trust me, you’ll soon find that it was worthwhile.
First ― Limit TV and Internet
The goal is to limit daily use of TV, internet, and social media to two (2) hours per day. Yes. It’s a hard step, but you’ll save on average about four (4) hours a day, or twenty-eight (28) hours a week.
With all the time you’ve saved find a used bookstore. Go into the bookstore and buy the oldest and cheapest book they have in the genres of philosophy, religion, or history. Now, sit down. Read it for at least an hour. Use a pencil or yellow marker. Make notes in the margins. Think about it. You are expanding your awareness by creating new neuro-connections, sparking new ideas.
Second ― Talk to People
When it is safe, meet people face to face. Otherwise, substitute facetime or zoom. Chat rooms will at least allow you to see who you are talking with. Sign up for free webinars. Explore new interests and subjects.
The goal is to meet new people and open your heart. Use a book as the focal point. Find out what people read. Find people from different backgrounds and points of view. This will expand your social awareness.
Now that you know one another, ask them about their opinion on what you’ve read. Encourage them to turn off the TV and read it. We also suggest making a follow-up meeting. But, don’t forget the main purpose of step two is to find someone new to talk with about the book.
Third ― Repeat the First Two Steps
The results will surprise you. In less than a month you’ll discover that connecting and doing research is more enjoyable than passive entertainment. You’ll find your mind hungers to learn and share. You’ll change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change you in response.
Two steps seem too simple. It’s three if you count repeating as a step. But, the simple things in this exercise will change you. You will see things differently.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia