This is powerful. It could change your life.
If you’ve ever dieted… and didn’t lose weight. If you’ve ever saved for retirement… and didn’t get rich. If you’ve ever started something… and didn’t finish it… Please pay attention.
We can fix that.
Put a map in front of us and we can tell you exactly where this powerful idea entered our mind.
We were 35 miles from Ketchikan, Alaska, fishing the tip of Revillagigedo Island, taking advantage of a twice-a-day tidal current that led to some of the best salmon fishing on the planet.
The water depth was 60 feet.
You see, in our young days of running charter boats on the East Coast, we’d have to run miles offshore before we hit that sort of depth. With a flat, sandy seafloor below it, the surface didn’t part with its old pal the bottom all that quickly.
But in Alaska… 60 feet set off alarms. It was a surefire sign that we were about to hit land.
That’s because we were floating over underwater mountains. We could throw a rock from shore and send it fluttering down a canyon cliff into 1,200 feet of crushing water depth.
As we put this simple comparison together, something clicked in our head.
Perspective is king.
This Changes It All
Some of the ideas here are obvious. We’re sure you’ve thought of them.
Stubbing a toe can lead to a bad day. But for the man just diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, it’s nothing.
The businessman complaining about a cold omelet… has nothing on the starving kid who hasn’t seen his addicted mom in two days.
Again, it’s run-of-the-mill stuff. Common sense.
But what about the cultural unhappiness that’s casting a dark shadow on our nation and her people? What about the bitterness, the anger and all the divides?
That’s a perspective problem, too.
Take, for example, a fresh report out that tells us America’s houses are getting bigger… and yet folks are less happy than ever.
Our famed “broken bowl” theory would certainly predict the outcome.
It’s all about our perspective.
Remember… perspective is everything.
You see, in 1973, the average American house had 507 square feet per resident. Today, that number is nearly double – 971 square feet.
And, of course, all those big, fancy houses don’t make folks happy. Measures of home satisfaction haven’t changed at all.
That’s because… oh yeah, perspective is everything.
It turns out it’s not the size of our house that matters. It’s the size of our neighbor’s house. (Well, that got awkward.)
As long as his house is growing at a proportional rate to ours… we’ll never be any happier.
It turns out most folks don’t look at their house and say, “Wow, that’s quite nice.”
Nope. They look at Joe’s house up the street and say, “Hmmm… it’s bigger than mine.”
What they don’t understand, though, is that 60 feet on the East Coast is a whole lot different from 60 feet in Alaska’s coastal waters.
A Mind Trick
But it’s not just this “us versus them” mentality that brings us down.
We all have internal perspective, too.
In case you forgot already… perspective is everything.
Take the case of just about every American who’s ever gone on a fancy fad diet (not something we recommend, by the way).
You’ve been to dinner with them. They say something like, “Carbs? No, I can’t eat that.”
That’s a dumb move.
Of course they can eat it. Hell, the average person eats half a pound of plastic each year… He can certainly eat an extra roll at dinner.
The smart thing to say – at least if we actually want to lose weight – is “Carbs? No, I don’t eat that.”
Changing that one word – “can’t” to “don’t” – is hugely powerful.
That’s because… sorry… perspective is everything.
A study at Boston College proved the case.
It took a group of dieting students and divided it in half. One group was told to resist the offer of some delicious Hershey’s chocolate by saying, “No, I can’t eat that.” The other was told to say, “No, I don’t eat that.”
The results were incredible.
The “don’t” crowd was able to resist the sugary sweet at twice the rate of the “can’t” group. Nearly two-thirds were able to say no, while just a third of the lower-scoring group could refuse.
With one simple word, these folks changed their perspective.
No longer was dieting simply following somebody else’s rules… They were now following their own rules.
And it worked.
It’s proof that… perspective is everything.