How One Small Shift Can Change Your Experience

by Aileen

tree in water representing change of perspectiveFor many, many years I’ve heard and listened to the wise words of Louise Hay, Earnest Holmes, Wayne Dyer and their wisdom of “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  There are many variations of these wise words, but ultimately they tell us the same thing, we choose how we perceive our reality.

There have been times that I would argue the degree to which we can change our experience of a situation, but recently I’ve had countless moments of completely changing the way I experienced a situation. So many that I can’t help but to see it as a a gift from the Universe telling me that we truly do choose how we experience our life, our situations, our experiences. It would be hard for me argue against it at this point.

I do realize that the three examples in the video don’t quite show the depths of how we can use this, they are lighter examples, but they do have practical application.

When we are wanting to change the way we are experiencing a situation, it’s easier to practice on things that are easier for us. Some deeper and more complex situations may require a bit more effort. Knowing this, I’ve chosen to take a practice approach and gently allow it to become more natural and habitual.

Here are a few more practical uses for shifting our focus and changing the way we experience a situation:

Nervousness – A few friends of mine are going through some intense rounds of interviews and their current lack of employment has made the process even more nerve-wracking.  An option would be to shift focus away from the interview, away from thoughts of hoping you get the job, hoping it goes well etc… and moving the focus to the human connection.

Apprehension Many people experience varying degrees of social anxiety. This might occur at a party, an event, or any social gathering and you have the option to shift focus away from the nervousness and into a fun game of saying hello to a complete stranger and how many new people you can say hello to.  This is an area I tend to be challenged in, so you know it’s one I’ll be experimenting with.

Pain – When pain strikes it can be overwhelming and it can overpower our habits of optimism, gratitude, and joy. I’m not saying that will be easy to shift the focus, but it is possible and it presents an opportunity strengthen the skill. Imagine how we can improve the quality if our life if we strengthen this ability to shift our focus in all situations.

By practicing with easier situations, it will become more habitual and we’ll find it working even in the more difficult life situations.

I hope you have fun with this!

 

 

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela Artemis August 18, 2011

Aileen,
Great ideas all of them. I love the notion of making a game out saying hello to complete strangers. That changes things from scary to fun!

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Aileen August 18, 2011

It’s pretty wild how a slight change can have such a strong effect. How awesome would it be if we just naturally shifted our focus – if it were automatic when we get a bit stuck in unpleasant or undesireable situation?

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Anne August 18, 2011

: ) I love this post, “we choose how we perceive our reality.” Yes, I believe you, we do. It took me awhile to get that you don’t have to look at a glass as half full or half empty..there it is just a cup with water in it… LOL..The very situations in our life are there for us to experience, walk through, learn from. Some are filled with joy, some pain but how we look at them can help us move through them. I am so happy I read your post today, thank you for sharing!!!!!!

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Aileen August 18, 2011

Thank you for sharing your comment and your thoughts :) “how we look at them can help us move through them” YES!

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David Stevens August 18, 2011

Hi Aileen,
Nice practical ideas. Often just a small change in one’s thinking makes such a large difference. I give my thoughts are shake up on a regular basis…..get rid of the staleness. Thank you &
be good to yourself
David

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Aileen August 18, 2011

Hi David. I like that… “shake up your thoughts” – you gave a great visual in getting rid of the staleness :)

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Vishnu August 18, 2011

Aileen – practice approach is the best approach. like fear of public speaking, right – they say the best way to overcome it is to keep practicing (starting with small audiences) Small steps or shifts (like you say) is key.

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Aileen August 18, 2011

It’s pretty wild how that one solution… practice and start small – works in so many areas. It’s almost unlimited. I do see how practicing public speaking would build a base of familiarity and a sense of “I can do this” that takes over the fear – almost leaves no room and no justification for the fear to conitnue on.

:) Thank you for sharing your thoughts

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Cristina | Positively Beauty August 19, 2011

Great post Aileen, and I love the video too! I too feel anxious when I fly and usually comfort myself with affirmations, but next time I’m going to try your attitude and shift focus. Thanks for sharing :)

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Aileen August 19, 2011

Hi Cristina, we share the same airplane nerves. A friend recently suggested I fly more often, but shifting focus is a bit easier to commit to than flying more :)

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Randy August 19, 2011

I particularly liked the suggestion of making a game of seeng how many people you could say hello to as I tend to be challenged when confronted with a group of complete strangers. Shifting our focus also helps us see the gems and lessons before us that we miss when we are so concentrated on controlling our experience. Sometimes I play the “new eyes” game. I try to imagine the road I’ve travelled down many, many times is really in a different city and I’m riding it for the first time. It often conjures up new feelings that I find invigorating.

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Aileen August 19, 2011

I love that! The new eyes game – seeing with a fresh vision. Thank you for sharing this :)

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Farnoosh August 19, 2011

YES! Another video! I love it, love it, Aileen. I can just watch you. You are so poised and beautiful and your pauses are amazing. I am going to try this next time something bothers me. I want that “incredible clarity”. In fact, I will try it next time Andy and I have a bit of, shall I say, spat? :) Will report out. Keep doing the videos. I am about to share this.

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Aileen August 19, 2011

Shifting focus is great for ‘spats’ :) It’s a great way to gain clarity! Thank you for your encouraging words

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Joe @ Shake off the Grind August 20, 2011

Hi Aileen,

What we “focus” on means everything. It’s not the situation that impacts us but how we perceive it. Our reality is completely based on our tendency to interpret and make sense out of what we’re dealing with, and when we can learn to tell ourselves something different we can alter how we feel and what we’re willing to do. Good stuff and wonderful video!

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Aileen August 22, 2011

“and when we can learn to tell our­selves some­thing dif­fer­ent we can alter how we feel and what we’re will­ing to do” Ahhhh, you said it with crystal clarity! :)

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Betsy at Zen Mama August 21, 2011

That Wayne Dyer phrase, “When you change the way you look at things…” is one I use on a regular basis! It really has helped me throughout the years. Your vlog is inspiring, too! Glad to have found you site!

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Aileen August 22, 2011

Hi Betsy, thank you for your comment. Thanks for visiting :)

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Lance August 21, 2011

Aileen,
I really just love your video, and how you’ve shared very real moments in your life – and how this shift HAS made a difference.

I’m going to do this – the next time I’m anxious – and just focus on the good of the moment. Thank YOU!!!

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Aileen August 24, 2011

Glad you found it helpful :) It’s something I really want to commit to – now for consistency :)

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Cathy | Treatment Talk August 21, 2011

Hi Aileen,

Wonderful post with some good ideas we can all use. I read once to picture unpleasant noise drifting in one ear and out the other, so it floats by rather than staying to annoy you. The example given was on a airplane when you are near the delightful little baby who was so cute and charming, but decides to start screaming. I’ve tried that a few times and it does help. It comes back to focusing on the positive. Thanks – great reminder!!

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Aileen August 24, 2011

Hi Cathy. I like the idea of visualizing the noise just pass on through – thank you for sharing that. Some time & some situations are easier to shift out focus to the positive and other moments/situations feel like an advanced course :)

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marquita herald August 23, 2011

I am a card carrying introvert to the extreme, so no one is more surprised that I am that I ended up making a living in sales and public speaking. What turned public speaking around for me was in fact a subtle shift in thinking – instead of focusing on how many people were in the room, I focused on faces – I began talking to people and every time I saw a nod or a smile, my heart soared.

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Aileen August 24, 2011

Hi Marquita. Thank you for sharing your experience, WOW! From extreme introvert to sales & public speaking that’s a fantastic journey! You offer a great tip, ” instead of focus­ing on how many peo­ple were in the room, I focused on faces — I began talk­ing to peo­ple and every time I saw a nod or a smile, my heart soared” Thank you for sharing this.

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John Sherry August 24, 2011

Great heads up Aileen, I have to echo your ethos. We tend to focus on big busting positivity but often the release, the doorway to more contentment, is through the slightly uncomfortable. I mean think about it for a second. When we push out of a comfort zone or a place that’s been over protective we HAVE to face slight challenges and fear related emotions. It’s natural. By overcoming them and moving forwards to a better place we reclaim our real selves and an existence aligned with who we are. Don’t be afraid, be brave, and all will be well in the end.

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Adrienne | Experience Life Fully August 24, 2011

Hi Aileen,

Excellent ideas shared here…and I love your video presence, you’re a natural! :) This is something I try to practice all the time as well. I usually implement a “shift in focus” by asking myself, “How else can I view this?” It works whether it’s something small like an annoying driver or something much worse, like my dad having a heart attack.

Another exercise I really like is one I picked up from Sandi at Deva Coaching:
She suggests imagining an event from five different perspectives:
1st position – Look at the event through your own eyes.
2nd position – Look through the eyes of someone important to you; perhaps someone you respect or admire. Step into their point of view and look at yourself or the event through their eyes.
3rd position – Look from a ‘camera lens’ or ‘fly on the wall’ position, looking from the outside in.
4th position – Look from a ‘meta-position’ (imagine being above it all), taking in the situation through the flow of time.
5th position – Look from the ‘we’ position, considering the experience of all from the inside out.

Thanks for all of the great examples you provided…here’s to shifting perspectives! :)

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LJ Earnest September 19, 2011

It is said that we get more of what we focus on, so if we are focused on pain, we will feel it more. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to shift, though! Excellent article!

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