Updated: Aug 24, 2021
What was the first book you read on self improvement?
Mine was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
I remember it like it was yesterday... I was unhappy at work. I knew I wasn’t as productive and efficient as I could be. One day, I was walking by the shelf of shared office books and stumbled upon this book, and I’m so glad I did!
The very first lesson I learned from his book was that in order for me to be happy, I was going to have to change the lens through which I had been looking at my life. Covey calls it a paradigm shift and provides the example of the optical illusion where if you look closely at the picture, you either see an old lady or a young lady. It’s all about your perspective.
In life, you’ve created habits in how you think and feel and act. How do you respond when someone asks you about work? Is it a negative or positive answer? On your drive in to work, what are you thinking about and how are you feeling? You can change these habits by changing your lens to see the good, to think more positively, and to feel happy. Once you decide to change your lens, it will become easier in all parts of your life.
Sometimes you can quickly change the way you look at something. For example, if you have someone at work that you think is a slacker and shows up late all the time and leaves early all the time, you may be frustrated thinking about how terrible he is. Then, what if you found out his wife or a child was sick with a disease? I’m guessing you’d be able to quickly change the lens for which you’ve been seeing him through to something more compassionate, and even wonder how you might be able to help him with his work.
Other times, it’s going to take a little more time to break the habitual thoughts your brain has been serving up which you’ve been thinking unconsciously. You’re going to have to be more intentional about the way you see a situation, the way you perceive what’s happening, and how you feel about it. It takes deciding which lens you to see through. How do you want to feel?
So, how about it? Starting today, commit to changing your lens. When someone asks you how work is going, don’t start with, “Ugh!”. Think of the positive things, feel good about it, and start the paradigm shift in your life.
Stick with me and you can love the job you have!