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Most of us believe we see the world objectively and everything we perceive is universally true. Unfortunately, that is far from reality. The notion that we have objective knowledge of the world is simply an illusion. No two people see the world the same way. As Robert Greene says in the laws of human nature “What we see and perceive is our personal version of reality.”
For instance, think about a scenario where a young man travels to Paris. He is somewhat shy and anxious. During his time in Paris, he tries to learn French but makes a lot of mistakes, finds the locals cold and hostile, and hates how many tourists there are. On the other hand, a young woman also travels to Paris but finds the locals really friendly, learns from her mistakes, and finds the city romantic and doesn’t mind the tourists.
Who has the right perception of Paris? Both. Two people perceive a city in two different ways. While the first person is struggling, the second person is thriving and having fun. This example is an illustration of how our attitudes actually determine how happy or fulfilled we are. Simply put, our attitude alters our circumstances.
The world simply exists as it is; things or events are not good or bad, right or wrong, ugly or beautiful. We have the option to either pay attention to the tourists of a city or how beautiful the architecture is. Or we, with our mindsets, can make people friendly or hostile towards us depending on our energy and openness. Our attitude also affects our health, our relations with people, and our success; our attitudes have a self-fulfilling dynamic.
How to change your mindset / attitude:
- First, start out by observing your attitude towards life. Are you quick to focus on someone’s negative qualities and bad opinions, or are you more generous and forgiving when it comes to their flaws? Are you quick to forget or gloss over any mistakes on your part? Do you instinctively blame others for any bad things that happen to you?
You will also catch signs of it in how people respond to you, particularly in a nonverbal way. Do you catch them being nervous or defensive in your presence? Do you tend to attract people who play the mother or father role in your life?
- Second, believe in the role of your attitude in your life and how it can alter your circumstances. The mind and the body are one; your thoughts affect your physical responses. For instance, people can recover much more quickly from illness through sheer desire and willpower. You are not born with fixed intelligence and inherent limits.
- Third, start making incremental changes in your life. Let’s say you are the young man in the Paris example given above. Instead of thinking about all of the tourists, start admiring the architecture. Or instead of being afraid of making mistakes, see them as opportunities to learn.
Gradually, with incremental changes, you will build an attitude that makes you happier and more fulfilled.. You got this!
This lesson is from: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene