“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
This quote is very well known and has been attributed to many authors from Steven Covey to Franz Kafka. Its roots are probably much older than this and its use can be traced back thousands of years. What is fantastic about it is that the value it helps you to create in your thinking is as relevant today as it was centuries ago.
So what does it really suggest to us? I think it is that success comes when you change your perspective. I feel there are two aspects to this:
You see what you are looking for and not necessarily what is there.
If you always look at things the same way, you will always see the same things.
Why might this get in the way of success? Rather than dwell on the problem, let’s think about how you might deal with them. There are many things you can do to change your perspective, but let us think about three that might be particularly relevant in business:
Stop thinking about what you are supposed to be doing and think about what you really want to do.
Ask yourself this question – how many successful people do you hear of who say they got where they were by doing what they were supposed to do? You can also think about what might happen if you were to spend huge amounts of time and energy in a place you don’t want to be.
Let it go.
By happy coincidence, Marshall Goldsmith wrote a great post about this recently – you may want to search it out. The learning is that the more “baggage” you carry around with you the less energy and resources you will have to help you create a successful future. When something is in the past how can you change it? So what purpose does it serve you to continue to carry it around at the expense of future possibility.
Focus on the here and now.
As I have just pointed out, you can’t change the past and the future hasn’t happened yet. So why do we spend so much time thinking about things that are not relevant to what we are doing now? Success comes when we perform at our best in the things we are doing right here, right now. Is the sportsperson successful because they are thinking of their next game or event? No, they succeed because they are fully present in what they are doing at that particular moment.
If you desire more success in your life and it is not happening, is it because you are stuck? These suggestions may help, but what will really help is getting a different perspective – if you see things the way that you have always seen them, then you’ll continue to get the same results.
If this seems too abstract for you, lets look at it from the perspective of Richard Branson, who I think we’d all agree is a highly successful entrepreneur:
“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or what’s the fastest way to do it… think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it”.
Sometimes you need to engage with other people to get that shift in perspective. So think about asking people you trust how they perceive you and to suggest ways that you might consider approaching things differently. Another great way is to work with a coach with whom you can safely explore what you are doing to hold yourself back from your future success.
Whatever you do, the journey begins with the first footstep, so start something (#startsomething) or change something (#changesomething), but above all DO. Success doesn’t come looking for you, you have to go and find it.