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“Nowhere, or Now Here? It’s a matter of perspective” – Author Unknown
I definitely wish I knew the author of this week’s beautiful quote – what a great way to play with words!
Isn’t it so true that sometimes when we think we are going nowhere, others see it simply as a step towards our journey to somewhere? It’s affirmation that we’re all working towards goals we hope to get to someday, and perhaps we aren’t so far off.
That Feeling of Going Nowhere
That’s great, you say, but what can I do about that feeling of going nowhere? You know, when you’re stuck on how to start a project, how to continue one, or even how to finish it?
Personally, I think it’s all about a bit of planning. I absolutely love putting together lists of goals.
First, sit down and think about what you really want. Not what society expects from you, what others want, but what you truly want. Brainstorm words that describe feelings you’ll have once you obtain the goal. Then, make a plan to achieve the SMART Goals you set, and write them down on a dedicated goal setting page.
You have access to my free printables library with my goal-setting template, right?
Then again, whether writing down goals or discussing them with friends works for you might depend on your personality. Whether you’re a natural born planner or not, I truly think we all have a need to communicate and to be understood. So, perhaps we should try setting goals, chatting about them without our friends, and seeing if that gives us a new perspective.
3 Ways To Gain A Different Perspective
1. Perspectives From People Outside Your Comfort Zone
Sometimes, we need to take the opportunity to look a bit further than right in the places we’re used to looking. Usually, I talk to the same handful of friends for advice on a situation. Once in a while, though, you happen to see someone you haven’t seen in ages or meet someone new.
Ever noticed that they tend to give you a slightly different idea about the situation? I think we need to embrace these ideas and truly consider them in our decision making process.
2. List The Positives In Every Negative
I know, I know. It sounds cliché.
But I want you to actually do it:
Make a list. List out the last few negative events that happened to you – tiny or large, and think really hard about what you learned from them. What was the positive part that came out of it?
Assess your current negative situation. Write down 3 ways the experience that is currently unfolding in front of you could become positive. Personally, I like to frame my thoughts like this “Maybe this experience is here to teach me…[insert idea here]”.
For example, “This experience is here to teach me that I am needed”, or “This experience is here to teach me to move on more quickly” . Maybe a certain experience makes you feel valued, reminds you to be grateful for what you have, or confirms that you have a strong support network ready to help you.
3. Do Something For Someone Else
As this Forbes article puts it, “Serve”. I find this idea interesting because in helping others you can also help yourself. One activity I would like to get back into my life soon is volunteering. I volunteered for years at Girl Guides of Canada, and later at a dog shelter but it has definitely been years since I’ve volunteered.
The people we meet and the experiences we have while volunteering can definitely bring us new perspectives.
Teaching Perspective In Literature & Film
As I’ve had some time this summer, I’ve been using some of it to read through books I’ll soon be making novel studies for, and watch more films. I love movies, don’t you?!
In fact, yesterday I finished watching the second season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. If you haven’t read the book – you definitely should! I know the particular subject matter of this series may not make it appropriate or acceptable for all audiences, but the story does a great job of showing how one story can have so many different perspectives.
Here are some tips for getting English students to think about perspective:
Have students think about the following questions when reading (of after-reading) the literature, or watching the film:
- Why does the protagonist feel the way they do about the main conflict? What do you think the antagonist is feeling?
- Imagine you are “on the antagonist’s side” for a moment. Write a paragraph explaining the last event in the book from their perspective, keeping it as true to the character as possible. Remember to think of reasons why the antagonist acts the way they do.
- Extension activity for advanced students: Create a “mediation” exercise to do in groups of 3. Each person in the group plays a different role – Person A, Person B, and a mediator. Each of these three people has a different piece of paper explaining a conflict Person A & B are having. (A’s piece of paper blames B, B’s paper blames A, and the mediator’s story has a neutral perspective). Without seeing each others’ papers, students have to come up with a solution to the problem (using the mediator who asks questions to help).
I’ll be explaining more about the “mediation” activity above in another (English teaching related) post, but I wanted to mention how well it helps people gain perspective.
How do you evaluate different perspectives when assessing a situation? Have you had experiences that allow you to gain perspective in life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! I read and respond to every (non-spam) comment 🙂
Have a lovely and productive week!
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