The Beauty of Different Perspectives

So much in life is about gaining perspective.

The impact of redefining your mental outlook as a result of such experiences can be staggeringly strong.

Consider this. Even as an adult, it’s deceptively easy to label your own habits and behaviors as the “right” way, and to deem everyone else’s as “different,” but “not for me.” And yet, everyone’s mindset is relative. If you had grown up in a different country or culture than you actually did, many of your current habits and behaviors would never have developed in the first place. In fact, the ways of being that are now completely foreign to you would have been second nature!

The person you are today stems from what you were surrounded by as a kid: your family, your culture, your environment. For instance, you’ll find that the phrases generally used (or not used) around you when you were younger seem to make their way into (or mark a conspicuous absence from) your adult vocabulary. And although the knowledge you have or don’t have – how to use chopsticks, how to do mental math, how to send texts – may be acquired or enhanced at any time, it still holds true that the very existence of this knowledge hinges on your having been exposed to it in the first place. For knowledge that takes the form of a particular country’s customs, where you may have grown to love the culture if it had been yours, the simple truth is that in most of these cases… it wasn’t yours. And as a result, you may not know what you’re missing. The cultures we grew up in may be great, but man, it’s humbling how many are out there. So remember…

Everyone’s childhood was different. Everyone’s life is different. Think before you judge.

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Authenticity, Through the Layers

In our daily interactions, we all betray our likeness to onions.

Below the layers of our clothes we wrap ourselves in our own layers – layers that are internal, inherent, and invisible. These are the facades that we put on when we interact with strangers, or acquaintances, or even sometimes our loved ones.

They are both our blessing and our curse.

Let’s take the first time you meet someone. Usually this conversation starts out polite and non-invasive, like a toddler dipping her toe in the pool to gauge the temperature. Such a conversation may transpire as follows: Nice weather today, don’t you agree? I do. So, where are you from? Where do you work? I like doing that too; what else do you like to do?

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Where Our Shoes Take Us

The clothes we wear tell a story. They tell our story.

Let’s take shoes as an example.

For those of us who tend to find ourselves in a shoe-clad state, we busily go about living our daily lives, balancing our work and play, while below us our indefatigable shoes roam the earth, striding where we stride, stumbling where we stumble, idling where we idle. They hang out on our feet, waiting to uphold our next bidding, as we wait in line at the store, or take our twenty-minute walk to work, or run our first 10k.

The soles of our shoes meet the rainy ground on the day we hurry through the streets, our minds elsewhere. Or the gravelly hiking path on the day we linger at the breathtakingly majestic view. Or even the carpeted floor where we proudly ace the challenging interview that really gets our career going.

All those times, our shoes are there with us.

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Real World, New Rules

“After I finally learned the ropes, they changed all the rules.”

This statement, from this Humans of New York post, is a no-frills, boldly honest declaration that defines so many life experiences. It sits there and bides its time, waiting patiently as you struggle to adapt to the circumstances you’re in. At some point you do adapt, and then, and only then, does it pick its moment – and bam. The old rules no longer apply, and new ones sneakily take their place.

As I am currently coming to terms with the results of such a transition-filled experience, this quote resonates with me in an especially relevant way. Let me explain why…

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