Perception is a big deal when we are faced with challenges. The way we view a tough circumstance can make all the difference in whether we come on top of the situation or spiral into a black hole of despair. Our perceptions are our viewpoints. They predict how we interpret people, situations, and events in our lives. Perceptions are largely based on sensory experiences, but they are also largely rooted in our upbringing, belief systems, and judgments. Because perceptions are hardwired into our emotional and mental DNA, they can be stubborn. So, how do we go about shifting perceptions about challenges? Here are a few ideas.
While perceptions are largely what we act upon, how we observe something might not be completely accurate in how it manifests in our lives. This is important to note because if we can change our perceptions, we can change our outcomes.
True enough, we can never escape our perceptions, no matter how hard we try. Because they are ingrained within us, they follow us in every single aspect of our day-to-day life. How we perceive the world ultimately determines many of our situations and emotions. Nevertheless, while we can’t escape our perceptions, we can absolutely CHANGE our perceptions.
Perceptions and Facing Challenges
Because our perceptions are so important in how we face life, they are also crucial when it comes to dealing with challenges. In fact, how we see a challenge will be a major factor in how we cope and handle obstacles. It also predicts how we overcome disturbances or tribulations in life.
According to the American Psychological Association, how our action and response to a problem is predicated on our perception of it. For instance, if you’ve experienced a traumatic event, or a dark night of the soul, you’re likely going to respond to that trauma according to your history, which formulates your perception.
Even in daily life, how we perceive is likely based on how we conduct ourselves through challenges and problems. For example, if we have a knee-jerk negative view of challenges, we are more likely to give up or feel defeated by them.
In contrast, having an optimistic mindset and positive psychology to help with problems in front of us can result in an opposite outcome. So, if you’re set point is more uplifting, and if you seek opportunity in the midst of chaos or disaster, your response to it is likely far more advantageous and positive.
You Can Change Your Perception
If you are in the former group rather than the latter (meaning – having a habitually negative view rather than an innately positive mindset), don’t fret too much. As mentioned, we can change our perceptions. We may have grown up with these views, and they may control how we navigate through life. However, we can successfully work on shifting perceptions about challenges.
Psychology points out a helpful fact in that, as humans, we have domain over our responses and emotions. In other words, we do have control over how we receive and perceive challenges.
Is it easy to approach problems with a different philosophy or mindset? No, not really. Because these are views that are long-held, it’s like breaking a long-standing habit. But once we recognize how we see obstacles we’ve taken the first step in shifting perception about challenges.
Tips on How to Break the Cycle and Change Perception About Challenges
While it’s not possible to have 100% control, we do have the power to adjust our views about difficulties we have to deal with in healthy ways. By slightly adjusting our perceptions we become better equipped to maneuver and navigate through life’s trials and tribulations. The best way to do this is by being aware, conscious, and mindful. Here are a few tips that elaborate on breaking the cycle of perception of challenges.
Attention is Key:
When you’re in that moment when you’re seized with anxiety, stop. Just stop and breathe. Then pay attention. Notice the emotional, knee-jerk reactions you’re feeling in the throes of stress or trouble. Just paying attention can help you shift into a different perspective.
Identify with Your Responses:
Let’s say you’ve encountered a huge setback in your life. If you react to it with hysterics or withdrawal, take a look at that. Identify why you are responding to a traumatic event the way you are. Ask yourself why you’re reacting in this way. You may find your response is deep-seated from similar reactions from your early years. You may also find patterns throughout your life that are similar. The point here is to place an identity on your responses. Connecting the dots to how you react to past experiences can give you more flexibility in shifting perceptions about challenges in the future.
Process Your New Perception:
Once you’ve paid attention and identified your perceptions in the throes of challenges, you’re already on the cusp of shifting your response into more positive energy. Now you can take a more thoughtful, strategic approach to handling troubles in life. Start small, by writing in a journal, or meditating about your feelings and re-evaluating viewpoints. This is especially true when you are just starting out at reforming your behavior and working on transforming your perceptions.
After going through the aforementioned steps, you should find yourself more empowered and capable of taking action. Through the process of paying attention, contemplation, identification, and being mindful of yourself, you are in a better, more mature place to take responsible action in any situation.
Because perception is much like a habit, it takes practice in shifting perception about challenges in order for a new approach to successfully formulate. This requires mindfulness. Here again, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary in order to break the cycle of negative responses. It’s also required in order to handle stress or anxiety in more healthy ways.
Getting Proactive About Shifting Perception in the Midst of Problems
Think about ways you can incorporate a new mindset into your everyday life. This means you can turn your negative view of a situation into a positive one. Start getting intentional and get committed to taking charge in more affirmative ways. When you do, you’ll find you are setting yourself up for better, more advantageous outcomes.
As become more proactive in changing your mindset, think about measuring your progress. You can do this by keeping a journal, or using a smartphone app. Record your progress and results. In this way, you can look back and see how far you’ve come since the first baby steps you took in the beginning.
Also, it may sound trite, but try to stay optimistic. When you feel low, or overwhelmed take alternative action. That is to say. If your go-to response is to drink a bottle of wine, or burry yourself in bedsheets when trauma happens…opt for a different tactic. Call a trusted friend. Meditate. Play with dogs. Plant a tree. You get the idea. If your first response to challenges is negative, then try your best to sway in the opposite direction. Rather than sulk, savor. Instead of crying, claim your power. Substitute bemoaning for bodacious opportunities available in your midst.
Different Kinds of Mindsets
Now that we know that mindset and perceptions are crucial to success in life, it’s probably a good idea to explore different kinds of mindsets. There are three common mindsets: The fixed mindset, growth mindset, and mixed mindset. Here is a breakdown of each mindset to assist you in shifting perceptions about challenges and obstacles.
The fixed mindset says that we are born with a certain acumen or skill set. It also views life as inflexible in that it states we cannot truly improve upon our talents. This can be a depressing mindset because it often crams you into a certain identity without hope of change. A fixed mindset says that your success is totally dependent upon your genetics.
For example, a fixed mindset would tell you that you can never get a good grade in school since you are not smart. This mindset is incredibly popular, but it is devastating when you’re shifting perceptions about challenges. It takes away your power over our own circumstances and blames it on our inherent abilities. Not only that, but the fixed mindset is untrue. If you do nothing else, try to break out of this fixed mindset. True, you are born with certain gifts and talents. However, you are not bound by what you were given at birth. You do have the power to change, transform and overcome.
This mental set point is the opposite of the fixed mindset. The growth mindset conveys a way of thinking that allows you to understand you are replete with versatility. It says that you have natural gifts, but you have the capacity to augment these advantages. The growth mindset allows you to hone in on your natural strengths and enhance them.
Furthermore, the growth mindset is all about seizing upon opportunities to boost and bolster areas of your personality that lay dormant. For instance, a growth mindset may tell you that you might not be an expert communicator, but you can improve with dedication and hard work. The growth mindset is by far the best mindset for overcoming challenges and coping with difficulties in life. It’s also a fabulous mental view if you crave success in life.
This perspective prevents you from becoming overwhelmed. It also helps you avoid the urge to give up while you are on your journey to be the best you possible. Instead, it helps you to stay motivated and flexible to improve upon your natural-given assets. If you want to overcome any challenge, you can start shifting your mindset from fixed to growth in order to meet untold success upon your horizons.
As you might have guessed, a mixed mindset is one that combines both fixed and growth together. In the process of shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth one, you may find yourself with a mixed mind view.
As you grow in the process of shifting perceptions about challenges, you may find your mind twitching between fixed and growth mindset thinking. This is natural. The best way to compensate for this pendulum of thoughts is to be aware and focus upon the mindset that best suits your needs in the moment.
You may find you aren’t where you want to be in terms of progress. But the mixed mindset can allay any doubts, fears or anxiety. Why? Because this mindset says that you have what it takes, and if you don’t you can certainly learn how to get through challenges and obstacles you’re faced with.
The Last Word on Shifting Perception for the Better
Be energized and excited by the fact you can shift your perspective. Keep track of your progress as you ramp up your intentions and mindful view of how you approach and think about challenges in your life. The more you pay attention to your personal growth, the more you will benefit. Seeing your successes as you tackle challenges in different ways will give you proof that,
A) You are strong enough
B) You are worthy of a better life experience
C) You are totally capable of crushing anything set before you.
When it comes to challenges, your perception can really tweak your melon. Contrarily, your perception can set you on a completely different course where you find yourself smooth sailing through any kind of obstacle. With all this said, it should be clear that perception and perspective are key when it comes to managing the setbacks and roadblocks we all experience in life. I hope this offers you some assistance as you deal with difficulties. As always, thank you for reading!
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