How proficient are you at keeping or putting things in perspective?
I’m currently writing the first chapter in my new book The Science of Intentional Trust, and one of the elements I will be writing about is what I refer to as the Triangle Of Three Trusts which refers to (1) Self-Trust, (2) Trust In Others and (3) Others Trusting In You.
I was chatting recently with a colleague about self-trust. It’s so easy to say we can trust ourselves, but without going into detail here (you’ll need to read my book when it comes out), there are plenty of times that I could provide to you that we all have a propensity to not fulfil promises to ourselves, and therefore, put our own self-trust at risk.
And when trust is at risk… everything is at risk.
One element of self-trust, is the degree to which you can trust yourself when times are a bit tough… when things aren’t going your way… when you’re under a bit of pressure or stress.
I’ve developed a number of strategies to help enable me to manage the tough stuff that life can sometimes send our way. Now while I can’t say that these strategies or this approach that I’m going to outline is always successful in my own life, what I can honestly say, is that it works most of the time and I’ve certainly got better at it over the years with practice. Most of my strategies come from the ability to put things into perspective very quickly… this is one of the lessons that life can teach you when someone close to you in your life unexpectedly dies.
One of my younger brothers, Ian, died when he was just 19 in a car accident. I was 20 at the time and had just moved to Sydney where I had no family, no friends and when I learned of Ian’s death from two police officers who knocked on the door of the unit I was renting at the time, at around 9:00pm, I can still vividly remember the numbness and heaviness I felt in my heart.
The last words my brother Ian said to me as I drove away from our home in a small country town in Victoria, were “You’ve got it made mate – make the best of it!” Ian was a mate, and a brother, and I miss him.
His gift to me however has been to allow me to put other crappy things that happen in my life into perspective. It’s very easy for me while getting caught in traffic, to stop myself from getting too frustrated… after all, compared to losing your brother and a mate, traffic isn’t so bad is it. When things aren’t necessarily going as well as they could be in my business, it’s relatively easy for me to put things into perspective… none of it comes close to losing a brother and a mate.
Now I don’t tell you this as self-indulgent therapy for myself, (although paradoxically, savouring the memory of my brother, while sad, also brings a smile to my face as he really was quite the larrikin). My intention in sharing this with you, is to remind you (as I paraphrase the title of Richard Carlson’s wonderful New York best selling book ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff’) don’t get sucked into the little dramas of life, when there’s so many more important things in your life to be mindfully paying attention to.
We don’t need loss or tragedy in our life to gain a better perspective… it does take courage, and a bit of GRIT and a lot of practice. But keeping perspective, whether at work or in your personal life is one of the more positive ways that ‘comparing’ (not to others, but to other situations) can be a positive strategy.