Is Your Perspective Changing? And Is It Changing Your Life?

I almost didn’t write this post because it isn’t exactly groundbreaking. Or maybe it is.

Plenty of bloggers and book writers have written on the “change your perspective, change your life” concept. That’s old hat, as those who like to use hackneyed phrases might say.

But does moving toward a simpler, more deliberate life change your perspective so amazingly that your life begins to change in some really serious ways? (And does writing about it on an active community like So Much More Life make a real difference too?) I think it does. I’ll state my examples, then I look forward to hearing yours.

But First…

If you Google “define perspective”, definition number six is the one that’s the interesting to me: True understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.

Do you have a true understanding of the relative importance of one thing over another?

If you’re completely focuses on paying off your debt, for example, do you have a true picture of how life is better without debt? Or have you fallen for the spiel of a financial guru whose fervent zeal for ridding the world of debt is motivated by his need for the income his books generate?

If you’re focused entirely on ridding your life of unimportant things, have you considered that your unhappiness could be based in something other than clutter? Could it be that a life completely free of material possessions won’t make you any happier than one that’s cluttered? Could it be that some other of life’s straitjackets also binds you?

Do you see how understanding the relative importance of something really can call into question whether it’s very important at all?

Real-Life Examples From Mr. Guinea Pig

As it turns out, I’ve been conducting an unintended experiment on perspective with my life, using those of you who comment on my posts as sounding boards, counselors and controls.

I told you last week that I’m not entirely happy with my housing situation, but reading your comments has helped me see that it’s a relatively unimportant thing. Selling my house, you reminded me, involves a lot of unrecoverable costs — and moving somewhere else involves a new set of problems that could be less tolerable. While I’m not completely happy with my housing situation, I accept it as adequate.

Before that, I told you how my attempt to get a more economical car turned into a circus-like exercise in ridiculousness. Truthfully, I would have only saved about $50 per month and gained perhaps five miles per gallon of gas, both of which will be almost insignificant once I’ve increased my income. Plus, the car I have — a Toyota Camry — is comfortable and relatively efficient with fuel. A bit of perspective has shown me that.

And when I told you how my money situation isn’t ideal at the moment, you encouraged me to aim higher — to focus on an even grander vision for myself. Because I’m gaining perspective from your help and from my own consideration, I’ve been doing that.

I’ve even discovered that one of the keys to moving forward in my life is to go backward a bit. My online used bookselling business financed my work-from-home life for years before it failed, and now I’m rebuilding it.

I always thought that the bookselling business was flawed because it depended on too many other players — from inventory sources to sales venues and shipping providers — but I never did much about it. With today’s perspective, I understand that I can rebuild the bookselling business as a backup income source while I also build the new income sources of the future — something I will perhaps talk about another time.

In other words, today’s perspective — based on the knowledge I’ve picked up from examining my industry, simplifying my life and listening to good people like you — is changing my life.

If you change your perspective, you change your life. It may be a trite and tired phrase overused by self-help gurus and amateur psychologists, but it’s also an inevitable fact.

How are you doing on understanding the relative importance of things? Do you have a sense of proportion?

My perspective changes every day, but my aim is to look at the world from an increasingly flattering angle each day. If I adjust my perspective a bit more each day, that seems an easily attainable goal for me. What about you?


  1. In the grand scheme of things, many things aren’t all that important. The car situation, for example, isn’t a big deal.

    That doesn’t mean it might not have been nice to be able to swap it out – it just means that the world doesn’t end because you couldn’t.

    Perspective, to me, isn’t realizing that things are unimportant – it’s realizing how important things are, relative to each other.

    1. Exactly right, Robert. Relative imporantance is exactly the thing — although almost everything is less important than we think it is!

  2. “If you’re focused entirely on ridding your life of unimportant things, have you considered that your unhappiness could be based in something other than clutter?”
    Whoa Gip – this post came on a very significant day for me. I considered writing a post about it, but I’m not there yet, or ready. I realised today that the little bit of decluttering I started over two years ago now was the first step on a very significant journey for me. Sounds awfully deep I know… my perspective has changed, I’m finally am getting to the bottom of it all. It’s not about the ‘stuff’ but I guess we all know that…

  3. Hi Gip,

    This doesn’t sound trite at all to me. In fact, it’s one of the truest facts I’ve come to know!

    I can almost step outside of myself and objectively view different events in my life to see how my perspective made all the difference in how I experienced the event, and how I remember it. Once that awareness takes hold (that we can try to focus, change or control our perspective) it’s a real turning point.

    I also get what you saying about being so wrapped up in the “how” of a goal, that we forget the “why” — if we ever knew it to begin with. Personally, if the “why” isn’t compelling enough, I’ll never put enough into a goal to see it through.

    1. A truly compelling reason really does make a goal much more likely to take hold, Jenny. That’s a very important point, and thanks for making it.

  4. I think my perspective is constantly changing, based on my needs. I like to think that my overall values tend to change more slowly, but even those change sometimes as I learn and grow.

    My perspective is sometimes shaped by immediate needs at any given moment, and I can lose sight of the bigger picture and I forget (or ignore) that decisions I make right now can affect the future and bigger goals. And even those bigger goals are subject to change.

    1. My biggest problem, Mike, is holding onto a version of my perspective that shows me enough and for long enough to actually get something done. It sounds like you might have the same problem.

      Thanks for commenting. It’s always good to see what you have to say.


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