One of the biggest challenges I see in many people’s lives is failure to commit. Not failure to commit to a cause or a belief system but to a life based on that belief system. The struggles most of us deal with have little to do with our circumstances, situations, or the actions of others. Our reaction to these undesired ripples in life is actually a symptom of a deeper issue. It has to do with mindset and perspective – how you see things – more importantly, how you see yourself. Too often, our perspective is perforated.
Perforate means to pierce or make a hole in something. A perforation then is a series of holes placed in a row for the purpose of easily tearing. To be perforated means to have holes punched throughout. Unfortunately, many people’s lives are perforated due a lack of commitment to, and determination of, who they want to be. More specifically, a failure to determine who they are. So, when they experience situations beyond their control they react opposite to who they believe they are or desire to be. This in turn creates dissonance – cognitive dissonance – separation between how they act and what they believe. Who you believe you are doesn’t match how you choose to act (or react).
This discrepancy between who you believe you are (or want to be) and how you act (or react) pierces you with tiny holes. From the outside it appears that you’re all together but inwardly, you know it’s not true. This inconsistency can be a prelude to more significant problems such as anxiety and depression. On its own, it creates tension and general dissatisfaction with yourself. Dissonance can reveal itself in your life in different ways, not the least of which is negative self-talk and self-sabotage.
Perspective – Who do you really see?
In the rear window of my truck I have a sun screen of an American flag and bald eagle. From the outside it looks like a giant decal that you can’t see through. However, from inside the truck you see thousands of tiny perforations that allow you to see through without limiting your vision. What others see is not at all what I can see. So it is with the perforations of your life.
You are aware of the discrepancies between your thinking and how you live. Instead of having your mind made up and focused on who you are and who you want to be, you react in inconsistent ways. Chuck Swindoll has said,
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude or mindset on life. Attitude and mindset, to me, is more important than facts. It’s more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is much more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. Attitude will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude [or again mindset] that we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude or again, our mindset. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
Someone has also said, “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” When we make up our mind about who we are and who we’re going to be, things begin to shift in the direction we desire.
Be Who You Want to Be and Not What Others Want You to Be
We spend so much of our time and energy concerned with the perspective of others, we fail ourselves by not living as we truly want to be. Straddling the fence between who you think others want you to be and who you truly desire to be only results in a perforated behind! That “pain in your ass” may be self-inflicted and as such, can only be remedied by your own actions and decisions. Living a perforated life only results in being torn apart – a little here, a little there – until entire pieces are laying around you.
But there is good news. You have the power to change this! The potential to change and transform your life into who you want to be is in your hands. More specifically, in your mindset and your decisions. You can decide to be the person you want and know you are capable of being. You do not have to be the victim of living as others have determined you should. You can decide who you are and who you are going to be.
This means taking a proactive approach instead of continually being in a reactive state. You determine ahead of time, at the beginning of each day, who you are going to be and how you are going act. This must first begin with a shift in your thinking and a change in your attitude. Not so much a change in attitude about others, although that’s certainly at play, but a shift in perspective about yourself. It also necessarily means that you have a standard for these decisions.
You Can Overcome
For whatever reason, maybe your self-image is not what it should be and your view of yourself is challenged. You can overcome this. You can learn and discover who you really are – the trick is learning to practice living it. It is deeply intertwined with understanding whose you are and adjusting your perspective accordingly. When done consistently with who you’re designed to be, the possibilities are endless.
If you’re ready to make this shift and maybe aren’t sure exactly how to do it, there’s help. If you’re looking to make a change in your life, take back control, and start living the life you were meant to live, you have an option. When you can define your passion, determine your perspective, and discover your purpose, your potential begins to become your reality.