Perspective changes everything

Jameson Filston, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor

“Take your mistake and make it something great,” my elementary art teacher used to say. This was great advice for a kindergartener who could barely hold a pen, but this concept can be applied everywhere in people’s lives. 

There are so many things that can go wrong in a given day, like losing your keys or failing a test. It’s easy to turn to frustration and become unproductive when obstacles appear, but I find I feel a lot better if I calm down and change my perspective. Maybe lost keys are just an excuse to clean my room or take a leisurely walk to retrace my steps for the day. A failed test is just telling me what I need study more for the exam.  

While this applies great to small inconveniences, it can apply to larger problems as well. Looking at a long-term problem as a learning experience and an adventure can help you appreciate the different path you take. Changing your perspective to look at a problem in a more positive way is not an easy thing to do, but it pays off. It requires not only to accept a problem, but to embrace the situation and the benefit it presents. It is not about overlooking an inconvenience but about seeing the opportunity it presents. This summer I broke my hand while working as a camp counselor. 

At first, I ignored the doctor’s orders to rest my hand, using it for swimming and even rock climbing so that I could still be my normal energetic self. This resulted in the break becoming much worse, and I was very angry that I now was forced to miss out on the rougher games and activities. However, I soon began to take pleasure in getting to know the campers who couldn’t participate for various reasons. This was a way to interact with campers that never would have happened if I hadn’t been forced to slow down. Unfortunate circumstances can be frustrating and even scary, but they can also be adventures and bonding experiences. Solving a problem is a great way to get to know others and yourself better, and can draw people together.  

In January, I went shopping with friends, and my friend’s car tire went flat while we were inside. When we got back to the car, we were frustrated standing in the cold. None of us had changed a tire without the help of a parent before, so we had a long process of trial and error to get the spare on the car. While there were many moments of frustration as complications presented themselves, we had a surprising amount of fun and ended the night with a sense of accomplishment. 

Adventures and challenges, whether I seek them out or they present themselves to me, are usually very memorable and often positive experiences for me. It is not easy to take something hard and enjoy it, but it is a habit that pays off. It solves a lot of stress to step back and think about how an obstacle could be a fun adventure instead of a stressful inconvenience. Looking at a problem as a learning experience or a simple adrenaline rush can make life a lot easier if you get used to viewing it that way.

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