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The Power of Shifting Your Perspective

Simple shifts in perspective can make big differences in the way you view your world. Read on for ways to shift your perspective.

Living in China allows us the good fortune to celebrate the New Year twice. Resolutions didn’t quite take last month? No problem, start afresh in the year of the Monkey. 

One of the ways that the coaching process challenges clients is by asking powerful questions that help them examine their lives from a different perspective. If you’ve read this column before, this isn’t news to you. But, have you actually considered the different perspectives that can be taken on life here in Shanghai? Take advantage of the new year to try out some new perspectives.


It’s easiest to imagine taking a step back and looking at the current situation from a 3rd floor vantage point. What looks different when you can see the wide-angle view? Similarly, visioning what your life will look like in six months if you continue what you are doing versus making changes can also provide a shift in perspective.


Shanghai is not a quiet city. It has quiet moments, but overall, there is a lot of white noise in the background and the soundtrack that we add with music, podcasts and conversations. Imagine that you have a pair of noise canceling headphones. If you could quiet the distractions, what would you notice? Often this silence comes with meditating and taking the time to allow your brain to adjust to the lack of sound and then introspectively examining the topics that have been on your mind. Another change is to stop and listen to what you are saying out loud. Sometimes we are quick to speak and say things we don’t really mean or are unaware of how what we say is received. Taking the perspective of someone on the receiving end of your dialogue can be an eye opening experience.


We are creatures of habit and typically follow the familiar routines of our daily lives, such as walking the same way to work and sitting in the same spot at our favorite bar or cafes. Try changing things up and walking on the opposite side of the street or taking a detour around your neighborhood and walking down a parallel street to the one you normally take. This may add five minutes to your journey, but you will notice things that you may not have seen before. Even small changes like taking the stairs versus an escalator or elevator will help you be more alert to your surroundings and tuned in. What do you see when your body is not on autopilot? 

But why?!

What’s the point in thinking about things from other angles? Because there are three sides to every story--yours, mine, and what really happened. Getting outside of our singular viewpoints can help increase self awareness and provide motivation to change as well as helping us recognize opportunities for growth and success.