Maintaining perspective – How and what exactly is it?
This particular gentleman who was in his early 60s, was very well spoken and immaculately dressed. We were discussing the global financial crises and impact on the lives of this group of pre-retirees. Sharing his own story he revealed that he is severely in debt. Diagnosed with a brain aneurism and without private health insurance his financial position was, to be frank, depressing. Yet he was neither negative nor down on himself, quite the contrary.
“I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now,” he said, “And that is how I choose to live my life. I don’t worry about the things I can’t control, and I look for the positive.”
Tolle’s name has been mentioned in other group discussions. His view of enjoying the moment and maintaining perspective struck a strong chord.
There’s an interesting chasm in society. The media presents much negativity: crises, scandals, economic woes and panic. How often do the promos for tabloid current affairs programs scream out “A story every parent must watch.” The glass is always presented as half empty.
Yet many New Zealanders are determined to live by an opposite ethos. They wish to stop and smell the roses. They work hard to see the glass half full.
This is a theme that comes up very often in talking to parents and their life priorities. Their lives seem impossibly busy, ferrying their children from one activity to the next and managing the responsibilities of work and home life. But increasingly they talk about downshifting; trying to ease the load somewhat so they can enjoy what is really important in life. That is, more time together.
There is a recognition that time really does fly and the kids will be young for a relatively short window in life, so they should make the most of it and enjoy each other, because ultimately that’s what life is all about.
Advertising has caught onto this concept. And advertising is largely about depicting insights that resonate with their audience. A motoring insurance group asked “When did life become so complicated?”; a private health insurance campaign set aside ill health and stated “Be positive”; and a breakfast cereal told women to do something just for themselves, to “remember you.”
These campaigns resonated powerfully. They are the kind of messages we want to hear. It’s hard to keep perspective amidst the pressures of life and individual worries. Yet, more and more New Zealanders are determined to revel in the moment and reflect on what they have rather than what they don’t have.
It’s not easy, however, and people say it takes effort and constant reminders. How much perspective is there in your life? And how do you manage to maintain it?
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