3 Shifts In Perspective That Make Life Happier

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
- Abraham Lincoln

Perspective really makes a huge difference in everything we do every day.  At the start, we choose our attitude on how we approach the day.  During the day, we choose how we react to everything we encounter. At the end of the day, we choose to believe a specific version of what happened.

In my own experience, making certain shifts in my perspective has increased my overall happiness and satisfaction.  I choose to be more of an optimist than a pessimist (although some moments are harder to be positive than others).  These are three shifts that I've made that have been very empowering to me in my daily routines.

From being "busy" to being "productive."

When I first entered the work force, I was always pushed by my managers to be busy.  If I worked harder to finish earlier, I was "rewarded" by being given more tasks to do.  I always had to be doing something, not being busy was unacceptable. 

Somewhere along the way I realized that if I slowed down, took it easy, and took longer to get my tasks done, it would be beneficial for me because I would look like a good employee to my managers and not break my back at work.  The problem with this approach is that it's less productive.  Even though I push myself to do more than I've done in the past, the pressure to "be busy" has always lingered in the back of my mind and kept me from reaching my full potential.

Last year, when I read through The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, it blew my mind away.  It preached about focusing on being productive at work versus being busy.  That shift changed everything for me.  Instead of focusing on always keeping myself occupied, I focused on getting things done.  I planned my day.  I prioritized my tasks.  I managed my time wisely.  I even allowed myself time to relax knowing that it was okay if I was really productive. 

It's a good mentality to have not just at work, but also at home.  I push myself to be productive so that I can spend more time with my family.

From "spending" to "investing."

Money is something that comes and goes.  It's something that we all need and want to a certain extent (it depends on a lot of factors).  As I get older, the more I realize that I need to spend my money more wisely (especially since now I have a family).

Even though I have many years to go in my career and anything can change, I've come to realize that I need to make my money last.  I have bills to currently pay, my son's college to save up for (and any other kids I may have in the future), and retirement.  I work hard for what I earn, and I need to make it last. 

Now for every purchase I make, I think a little more before buying anything.  Every purchase needs to be an investment in something practical that will actually be used.  I usually buy quality items instead of items of quantity since quality items tend to last longer and don't need to be replaced or repurchased as much.  Everything that I buy needs to be an investment in my family's health or well being.  It helps me save money and make my money really count. 

From "problems" to "opportunities for growth."

One of my favorite "Life Laws" from Dr. Phil is "Life is managed; it is not cured."  He knew that no matter what, everyone would be faced with problems all throughout their lives. 

The concept of a problem is problematic.  It implies that there is something wrong and isn't supposed to be that way.  When faced with a problem, people can see it as a problematic situation or an opportunity for growth.

It's a concept that I always need to remind myself, especially during my most stressful moments.  I can either let the problem defeat me or turn it into an important life lesson.  When I was dealt with overwhelming responsibilities, I made myself learn to manage my time more wisely.  When faced with conflict, I learned to communicate, cooperate, and compromise.  I proactively pushed myself to meet the necessity of the situation.


Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-hour workweek: escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich. New York: Crown Publishers, 2007. Print.

McGraw, Phillip C.. Life strategies: doing what works, doing what matters. New York: Hyperion Books, 1999. Print.

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