080: Shifting Your Perspective | Tanya Dalton
July 24, 2018   |   Episode #:

080: Shifting Your Perspective

In This Episode:

Today we’re shifting our perspectives to cultivate a happier, more satisfying life. We’ll focus on mindset, the importance of identifying negative self-talk and thoughts, and the five practices that will allow you to shift your perspective. Learn to finally stop finding the negative in situations, and instead choose to become more aware of the positives and create your happiest life.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Your happiness affects your productivity

Questions I Answer

  • How can I be more optimistic?
  • How will being more optimistic increase my productivity?
  • Does happiness affect my work?
  • How does happiness affect my employees?

Actions to Take

Key Topics in the Show

  • Lazy vs. Intentional: How your actions and emotions make all the difference

  • Choosing positive, intentional thoughts

  • Identifying negative loops & consciously shifting your mindset to optimistic

  • Top 5 practices to help you finally shift your perspective

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Welcome to season seven of Productivity Paradox from Press, a podcast  focused on using productivity not just to get more done, but to accomplish what’s  most important. Join Tanya this season as she focuses on cultivating happiness  through the power of productivity.  

To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to  Press.com/podcast. And now, here’s your host, Tanya Dalton  

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your  host, Tanya Dalton, owner of Press and this is episode 80. Last week was the  start of our brand new season, season seven, where we’re talking all about  cultivating happiness through productivity. Now, as you know, I define  productivity not as doing more, but doing what’s most important. Which  means, you’re going to end up happier at the end of your days. So, happiness  is a topic I’ve really wanted to cover and really go in depth with for quite some  time. And today, we are talking about shifting our perspectives. This is an  important topic, I think, when we talk about happiness because our  perspective is how we view the world. If we’re constantly filtering our  environment finding negative things, it’s really hard to be happy.  

So, I wanna talk today about shifting that perspective and maybe changing the  way that you look at things. We can always find reasons to have a negative mindset.  We fail at something. We’re overwhelmed. We don’t reach our goals. Maybe we  experience a loss, and our inner critic takes over. It starts telling us that we’re  incapable of any success or that we don’t even deserve success at all. We need to  watch out for this inner critic, because there are just as many reasons to have a  positive mindset as there are to have a negative mindset. It’s just easier to slip into  these negative thoughts when we’re living on autopilot, and we’re seeing other  people’s things and their accomplishments, and their relationships, and all the  obstacles in our way to get those same things.  

When we’re aware instead of the positives, it’s easy to see that there’s so much  that we do have. Our experiences, our family, our friends, our memories, our personal  strengths, our skills, and our talents. Changing your life situation and your  circumstances sometimes isn’t possible or at least isn’t possible in the short term and  if that’s the case then we need to focus on our mindset. We need to shift our  perception, our belief, or our opinion about the situation. This allows you to grow  beyond the things that you can’t really control and change your attitude towards  them instead. We all get stuck in bad habits where we don’t focus on the right things.  That includes me. We people please or we victim mindset. We needlessly worry, and  we spend time sometimes with toxic people and indulge in negative self-talk, or is  that just me that talks badly to myself. I don’t think it is. We need to recognize this  and break these habits.  

©Productivity Paradox Page 1 of 6

When you think about something repeatedly, especially ruminating on  negative thoughts, you begin to personally identify with, and eventually believe in  those thoughts even when they aren’t true. This shapes not only your inner reality,  but also your outer reality. We need instead to choose positive and intentional  thoughts. Start paying attention to the way that you talk to yourself, and how you  talk to others. Asking yourself if what you’re saying is true at all. For instance, if you  call yourself lazy, is that true or is it just an excuse? After all, lazy is a choice. It’s not  necessarily always a bad one. I think we can all agree that a lazy summer day is a  wonderful thing. If you’re intentionally creating space or slowing down your pace, I  would encourage you not to use the word lazy, because it has a bad connotation.  Make it clear that you are choosing this. I want you to own it. If you are slowing down,  which I think is a great thing to do, don’t call yourself lazy. Call yourself intentional. I  think there’s a really big difference in how you phrase it to yourself.  

The bottom line is you can’t control reality, but you can control how you react  and respond to everything. Tough times and hardships are inevitable in everyone’s  lives, but how we view what we’re going through, that is completely up to us. We  need to realize nothing really lasts forever, low seasons in our life included. Our lives  have these ups and downs, these peaks and these valleys and sometimes when we’re  in a low, it feels so deep that we think we’ll never climb out. Right, we’ve all been  there. But you know what, we will. If you look at the patterns at the breadcrumbs of  your life, you’ll see that again, and again, and again, we do experience highs after the  lows. We have to look upward and forward and not just sit there in the pit that we’re  in.  

If you always have a chance to find the bright side in your situation, no matter  how tough it seems, that can really make a difference. Identifying the positive of your  experience will help you find the lesson hidden among the pain. It’s important for  your long term happiness and your success that you’re able to recognize when you’re  thinking negatively, when you’re in these negative loops and consciously shift your  mindset to get to the positive. Look back at your progress each week by looking  through your planner and your habit trackers. Studies show that seeing our growth  and or progress can actually increase our happiness.  

This is one of the reasons why including a habit tracker in planners was really  important to me. We need to see our breadcrumbs. We need to be reminded of  where we’ve been. I think it’s so easy at the end of the day, or the end of the week, or  even the end the year, to forget everything that we’ve done, all the good we’ve done.  It’s easy just to focus on the negative. When you take the time to really track this for  yourself, it’s really hard to argue with the data, right. When you’re tracking it and you  look back, it’s really easy to see your highs as well as just your lows. A lot of people  struggle with this, finding the good, reminding themselves of where they’ve been.  

As a matter of a fact, you might be receiving negativity from people that you  know. So, ask them why it is they feel negative. Ask yourself if you’re on the same  path that they’ve been on. If the answer is yes, ask them about their experiences. That  could actually help them and help you at the same time. If they have been on the  same path, get some advice on where this negativity is coming from in their own  experiences. See if they actually have some helpful advice they’d like to give but are  just having a hard time giving it in a positive or helpful way. Sometimes when we have  

©Productivity Paradox Page 2 of 6

these negative experiences, it’s really hard to get out of that and share our  experiences in a positive way.  

I want you to ask yourself too, if you can learn something through their  experiences. Use the unfiltered lens of an outsider to really see the choices that they  made. Sometimes it’s easier to see it in others than it is to see it in ourselves. Then  use that as a springboard for making your own choices and even how you want to  look at situations. You see, we need to flip the script from enduring to enjoying.  

Laura Vanderkam in her new book Off The Clock shares a great example of  this. She talks about this idea of winter. No matter where you are, you probably have  thought at some point that winter is cold, dark, and quite frankly depressing. But I  want you to compare your own winter to what winter is like in the northern parts of  Scandinavia. Where winter stretches on for months, and months, and months. And in  some parts, they don’t see the sun for weeks. Now, this might sound like a horrible  situation to be endured. But to the people who live there, winter is something  actually to be enjoyed, something they look forward to. They are eager for ski season,  a winter only activity, as well as the use of outdoor hot tubs that give them the  exquisite contrast of a warm body and very cold noses. No matter the weather,  Scandinavians get outside and feel the mood boosting effects of the fresh air. The  saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”  

They have winter festivals all season long to help cultivate this sense of  solidarity, of fun, and of the beauty that winter brings. When the sun never  completely rises around the Winter Solstice, a different sort of scenery emerges. This  little amount of light causes them to pay attention in detail to what they can see.  Meaning very different things stand out in winter than it does in the summer. I think  that’s really a beautiful way to look at something like winter, which can seem to drag  on. We all know how that feels. But to really take it from something that you are  dreading to something that you look forward to. Finding that goodness in the little  tiny bits of our events and our experiences really can make a difference in shifting our  mindset.  

We have to try to shift to be a little more optimistic. A lot of it has to do with  the stories that we tell ourselves. How we talk to ourselves. The things we tell  ourselves that we should be doing and the things that we shouldn’t be doing. I go  into depth with this on my YouTube video this week, so I don’t wanna spend too  much time here on the podcast. But I do want you to think about this, the language  that we use when we talk to ourselves really does make a difference in how we feel  about our days. It effects our levels of optimism. Now, studies show that optimists  tend to make more money than pessimists. They get sick less. They have reduced risk  of cardiovascular disease and they have a longer life. Optimists have also been found  to be happier, more creative, faster at solving problems, and have increased mental  alertness when compared to pessimists. Sounds like we maybe wanna be a little more  optimistic, right.  

David Mezzapelle, author of Contagious Optimism, has studied optimistic  people for over five years. He’s found that while some people are naturally more  optimistic, he believes it’s possible for a pessimistic person to improve their attitude  

©Productivity Paradox Page 3 of 6

and become more optimistic. Happiness expert Shawn Achor agrees with this idea.  Cultivating habits to focus on feeling more optimistic really can make a difference.  

So, what do I mean when we’re talking about optimism? It’s not necessarily just  thinking of the best in every situation, with your head in the clouds pretending like it’s  rainbows and lollipops every day. It’s also about accepting the circumstances life has  given you and then still thinking about it positively. It’s still grounded and rooted in  reality. It’s not, you know, feeling like everything is gonna be okay no matter what. It’s  a dose of realism, but really looking at things with a positive lens. I’ve created a  download to help you with this, to make this even easier to try to look at a situation  and turn it into being something you feel a little bit happier about, or a little bit more  optimistic about. You can grab that free download at inkWELLpress.com/podcast.  Look under episode 80 and you’ll be able to grab that there.  

Now, if you’re on our email list, you’ll already have access to it because it will  have come in the email along with today’s information about the episode. I  encourage you to give that a try. I do believe there are five practices though, that you  can also do to help shift your perspective. I’d love to go through those.  

The first practice is expressing gratitude. Gratitude isn’t just about the big  things. It’s about being appreciative of even the smallest things in your life. Like,  seeing the sun in the morning, or your children, or having your pets run up to you to  greet you because they’re happy to see you. It’s the little things, isn’t it? Gratitude  can also be found within the stumbling blocks, our failures, and our hardships,  because we recognize that these situations give us strength and resilience. Gratitude  rewires your brain to think about positive things. When you start thinking about  things that you have going for you, instead of obsessing about what things you don’t  have, this trains your brain to notice the good in your life much more often. This is the  thing. We want to train our brain to scan regularly for the positive. Your brain is  constantly scanning the environment. So, let’s get it to start scanning for the good  things, right?  

Gratitude helps you to see your life as plentiful rather than empty, or abundant  rather than scarce. Gratitude just really sets a positive tone for your day. It’s like your  own personal soundtrack. We can cultivate this habit early in our days. Maybe it’s  something you do first thing in the morning as part of your routine. You write a quick  note down while you’re drinking your morning coffee. Build some quiet time into your  morning to think about three specific things that you’re thankful for, or even three  things that you’re excited about for that day. Think about the people and the things in  your life, having a roof over your head, food on the table. There are so many things in  our lives we can be grateful for. Sometimes it’s hard. I’m not gonna lie. But when you  take the time and you really dig in to find the little bits of happiness in your day, you  can really change the way that your brain is scanning and the way that it’s finding  information, so you can find a little more happiness.  

Practice number two is to give to others. You can donate time or just energy.  Now, this could be as grand as volunteering with an organization, or just being able  spend some time helping close friends and family. When you begin to recognize what  others have and don’t have compared to yourself, it’s easier to cultivate that  gratitude. Sometimes when you’re going through your own hardship, it’s really  

©Productivity Paradox Page 4 of 6

empowering to see that you can still help others. That inspires more optimism in  yourself. Think of ways that you can pay it forward. Doing something really simple  and kind for someone else has been shown to give both the person you’re being kind  to, and yourself a boost of happiness. You could send a thank-you note by email. You  could buy a stranger a cup of coffee, or even donate a couple of dollars to a good  cause. The easiest thing you can do, and something you can do 10 minutes after this  podcast is over is give someone a genuine compliment. Nothing makes other people  feel better than a genuine compliment. That feeling returns right back to you.  

Practice number three is to choose who surrounds you. Try to spend time with  people who are a little more optimistic. Sometimes when we’re kind of in the depths  of those valleys, it’s easy to get a collection of friends who are also in that same  place. Then you spend time together gossiping, complaining, frustrated with your  days, and that tends to grow exponentially. The people you spend time with helps  shape your worldview. So if you’re spending time with a group of pessimists, it’s really  easy to stay a pessimist. But if you shifted this to spend time with more people who  offer a more positive worldview, you’re likely to start cultivating a similar mindset for  yourself. This includes the naysayers, because there’s always going to naysayers  around, right. What others say or do is most often a reflection of their own reality, not  necessarily yours. You can disagree with other people’s opinions and stick to your  own without allowing their comments to affect you. So really think about who you  want to spend your time with. What kind of people you wanna be surrounded by.  

Practice number four is to take care of yourself. Mind your words. Think about  how you’re talking to yourself. We talked just a little bit earlier about the stories we  tell ourselves, and I think that’s really important. The words that we use when we’re  speaking to ourselves inside of our brains really can make a difference. When you  start to complain, catch yourself. Ask if the complaints are even true. Cutting out  complaining and instead thinking of ways out or around the situation, that can help  turn your outlook around. I think it’s really important to think about those words  we’re choosing. It’s like what we talked about earlier with that word lazy. Choose  words very intentionally when you’re describing yourself, or the activities that you’re  doing.  

We tend to be really, really hard on ourselves. We are our own harshest critics  and we speak to ourselves in ways we would never speak to anyone else. So I really  want you to be mindful of how you’re talking to yourself. There are lots of ways you  can take care of yourself. It’s not just about the activities you do, or giving yourself a  spa day. It really is about the day to day actions that you’re taking. That includes the  conversations you have inside your brain, because that really can filter that lens of  how you’re viewing the world.  

The fifth practice I think it’s really important to cultivate is lifting others. Take  an interest in other people. Looking outside of yourself really can make a difference.  Hearing how others are persevering inspires our own perseverance. When you hear  stories of others with similar struggles who came out to other side of it, that can give  you hope. That is a solid foundation for optimism. Simply reading or hearing  inspirational stories can make a huge difference. Another way to lift others up is by  forgiving. While easier said than done, when you make peace with the past, you stop  spoiling the present. Optimists have the ability to forgive and then move forward in  

©Productivity Paradox Page 5 of 6

their relationships. It’s not necessarily about forgiving and forgetting, it’s about  forgiving and moving forward. So find ways that you can lift up others. I find that  when I feel like I’m putting forth good into the world by helping out other people, it  really does come back at me. I begin to feel a little bit happier myself.  

But ultimately the thing you can do on a daily basis that helps shift your  perspective is quite simply to smile. Smile a little more often. A study from The  University of Kansas found that smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, reduces the  intensity of the body’s stress response. Smiling releases serotonin, a hormone that  contributes that feeling of well-being and creates a happier environment. That’s  something you can do right now. Just smile. Sometimes it’s hard. I totally understand.  There are days I don’t feel like smiling either. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops for me  either. But, when you take a minute to take a deep breath, reframe your thoughts and  even smile, you really can start to feel a little more positive.  

So I want to encourage you to really shift the way that you’re viewing the  world. Shifting our perspective, changing our mindset, and start filtering that  information to find the positive in it. I know it takes energy. I know it takes focus. It  takes some intentionality to start scanning for that positive. But when you do that on  a regular basis, it essentially becomes a habit, something that you will do without  even thinking. That can really make a difference in how you feel overall throughout  your day. The download that goes with this episode really will help with this. So I  encourage you to head to Press.com/podcast. Go to episode 80 and grab that free  download.  

Next week we are going to be continuing talking about cultivating happiness  by talking about the joy of missing out. We’ve done episodes before on the fear of  missing out, we’re flipping that whole idea on its head and talking about the joy of  missing out. As I mentioned, my YouTube video this week is about changing your  mindset and achieving happiness. I go in depth talking about those stories that we  tell ourselves in our heads. I talk about the five most common stories I hear people  telling, and what they sound like, and how to turn that around so we can be a little bit  more positive.  

I would love to hear your questions. I’m going to be doing an Ask Tanya  episode very soon. So, if you do have questions feel free to submit those at  Press.com/question and I’ll be happy to choose several of my favorites to put on the  show in a few weeks. All right. Until next week, have a beautiful and productive week.  

Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox from inkWELL Press. To join  Tanya’s free group, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/group. 

Site Design & Development North Star Sites