Thinking makes it so / by India Choquette

"There is nothing good or bad, only thinking makes it so." This is a quote from Hamlet that I think about a lot. Sometimes I agree with it, sometimes I don't. But, either way, perspective is what shapes our experiences. The problem with perspective is that we sometimes feel as though it's outside of our control (our perspective is that our perspective is fixed). But it's not. We create our own perspective through our thoughts. Whenever a client tells me they "can't" do something, I know that, as long as they say that, the won't. They are creating a perspective. My immediate response is always for make them say, out loud, that they are doing it. So if they say, "I can't row 1000 meters," I make them say, "I am rowing meters." And I swear, it's like witchcraft: they all of the sudden just go ahead and do it. But what if they can't do the task? It doesn't matter. Now they have a positive perspective about the challenge, and it changes their experience. My dad will sometimes wake up in a bad mood--he'll slam his coffee cup around, yell at the dog, or whatever grouchy thing he's doing. But he has a brilliant strategy for dealing with these mornings: the man literally gets back in his pajamas, gets back in bed, and starts the day over. He brushes his teeth again. Gets a new cup of coffee. And he makes the choice that it's going to be a good morning this time. He controls his thinking and his perspective. The day itself isn't any different, but his approach to it is. You can shape your perspective and control your experiences. Use thinking to make things good, not bad. Working out is only bad if that's what you think it is. Working hard is only bad if your have a negative perspective. Maybe you don't need to brush your teeth again (although it can't hurt), but when you find yourself setting yourself up for misery, flip your perspective.