18 Jun Perspective: How we see things becomes our truth
The P word. Perspective, defined as ‘a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.’ This word is my favourite word. Why you may ask? Because your perspective changes the way you think about the word and it doesn’t stop there, your perspective changes the way you think about the world!
The world we live in is truly an amazing place. With wonders at every turn along with a myriad of things we can’t possibly understand. I often find myself looking out at the world around me, completely perplexed as to how and why I have come to be in the position I am in. Being able to follow my dream, work and study in the most beautiful place in the world constantly reminds me of how blessed I am. I wake up every morning, rub the sleepiness from my eyes and am truly thankful for the opportunities I have been given in life. I truly love life and couldn’t be more positive about the future of my life and the people’s lives around me!
People often ask me, “Thady, how are you so positive and how do you manage to do so much?”, I just say the P word. And it’s a word I would love for you all to take on board, even just a little bit.
I will share some tips and examples with you of how I learned to mould my thinking to be more positive and think through my actions, along with the world around me.
Lessons are everywhere, it’s on you to find them
Everyone around you knows something you don’t, so why not go ask them? Taking charge of your growth as a person is on you. Looking for opportunities is on you. Exploring and focusing on the little things around you is on you.
“Growth is the result of how you utilize the people around you, and create opportunities for yourself. “ – Nicholas Cole
Nothing lasts forever
Life has it’s up and downs, But most important to remember is that, just like a rollercoaster, everything comes to an end. That long lecture will eventually end, the exam week will end, the feeling of loss after a break up will end. Stopping during these times and realising that the end will come and changing your perspective will be a great help at these times.
There is a Jewish folk tale that focuses on the concept of impermanence. It starts with King Solomon who asks his finest men to go and find him a ring that will make a joyful wearer forget his joy, and a brokenhearted wearer forget his sorry. King Solomon did not believe that such a ring existed, but wanted to teach his men humility.
Eventually the men found a ring inscribed with three Hebrew letters, “Gam zeh ya’avor” which means “This too shall pass.” This sentiment embodies the idea that everything will end. A positive perspective to take from this story is that whilst the good times will eventually be over, so too will the bad.
External vs. Internal Explanations
There a plethora of reasons why a single event happens, and a million more ways in which we can appraise it. It’s important to acknowledge the multiple factors that can contribute to a situation and not just blame one factor.
For example, you did not do well in an exam that you thought you would do well in. An external explanation would be that the test was too hard and the lecturer was trying to trick you; an internal explanation could be that you feel you’re not smart enough for the course and conclude that you are “dumb”.
Ultimately, both these explanations will not help you do better for the future. Instead of focusing on WHY an event happened, focus on WHAT you can do to prevent it happening in the future. Perhaps you need to change your study patterns, or ask for help.
The important thing to remember is that you must learn from everything that happens to you. This will cultivate your perspective of life to be more positive by focusing on the things you can do for the future, rather than the things you things you have failed at in the past.
There is more to life than med school
I cannot reiterate this enough! Medical school is a huge part of your life at the moment but it is only one part of who you are. Filling your brain with facts is great but if you don’t give your brain a break, it will eventually get tired and not work as effectively, a bit like a car that doesn’t get serviced. It is more beneficial for you to take a break for an hour so that you can work at 100% again, than to continually work at 60%. Get out into the community and find a way to serve others. Service teaches us humility and respect, especially when that service is for free.