It can be easy for all of us, especially the chronic complainers amongst us, to see the glass as half empty. Particularly in a society that makes many promises and encourages us to think that we deserve every last convenience and pleasure, it can be easy to fall into the trap of complaint when things don’t go our way. But if we just take the time to look at things from another’s perspective, we can often see that we have it good even when it doesn’t always appear that way.
So how can we start to see things from another’s perspective? And how can we adjust our thinking to be more thankful for what we have and see our life’s glasses as being half full?
- Adjust your paradigm – In his book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”, author Stephen Covey shared a story involving a young father and his children on a train. Covey was seated on the train, preparing for a long weekend in front of him. He expected a nice, quiet ride while he read through his favorite periodical. The children, however, had other ideas. They were loud and boisterous and the father seemed quite oblivious. Increasingly annoyed, Covey eventually made his way to the father and asked him to control his children. You can imagine his shock and dismay when he was told that the man and his kids had just come from the hospital, where their wife/mother has passed away. Covey uses the story to speak about paradigms, or the way that we see things. If we have rigid, me-first perspectives on what should happen, such thinking will impact how we act and communicate. If, however, we condition ourselves to think more in terms of what others want and need, as well as to set more realistic expectations for situations (such as taking public transportation), then we can approach them with more patience and balance.