Ever gotten too close to a situation and can’t really see things objectively anymore?  

Not able to solve a problem or move ahead because of it?

It’s easy to get lost in the details of something and have trouble seeing the bigger picture or alternative viewpoints.

A critical skill is to be able to step back and get perspective so you can make better decisions.

But how do you do that?

The key to getting perspective is to be able to see your situation in light of other facts, information, and the larger context.

It takes some disciplined thinking and some new habits that you practice over time, but once applied, you’ll see a difference.

Here are 10 strategies to help you get perspective:


1)  Take time away from the situation

Give your mind a chance to focus on something else.   Thinking too hard on a problem or situation for too long leads to fatigue and you reach a point of diminishing returns.  Allow some blank space in your brain to return to free up your creative thinking resources.  Spend time alone if necessary to allow your mind to quiet down.

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2)  Renew yourself with good rest, sleep, and exercise

It’s difficult to have a clear mind to think more objectively if you are tired, groggy, or low energy.  Avoid drawing conclusions in the middle of a sleepless night or when you’re not feeling physically at your best.   Consider using exercise as a way to clear your head and release positive endorphins (i.e., hormones that make you feel good).


3)  Talk to people with experience and expertise on your issue

Sometimes the viewpoints you need are easily obtained if you just talk to the right people.   It’s easy to spin your wheels trying to solve something when an objective third party with the right knowledge might help you cut to the chase and give you clarity.


4)  Get clarity on the real problem as well as potential solutions

The old saying goes you can’t have the right solution if you haven’t identified what the real problem is.   Albert Einstein said if he had 1 hour to solve a problem, he’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem, and 5 minutes thinking about the solution.


5)  Ask good questions

Discipline yourself to ask, “What am I missing here?”  “What else do I need to know that I’m not considering?”  “How would I feel if the roles in this situation were reversed (i.e., put yourself in the other person’s shoes).?”


6)  Compare this situation to your previous output, decisions, results

Keep your current dilemma or concerns in context to what you’ve done, experienced, or accomplished before.   Remind yourself of past successes and cases when you’ve figured stuff out to boost your confidence.


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7)  Spend time volunteering

One of the best ways to put your life and situation in perspective is to stir feelings of gratitude when you see and help people less fortunate. It’s easy to forget your blessings, and doing acts of kindness and compassion will help put things in perspective and make you feel more positive emotions of goodwill and altruism.


8)  Spend time with children (yours or others)

One of the best ways to ground you back to what’s important is to be with young children, whose focus is on play and happiness.  The innocence and purity of children can help remind you of the good in people, and bring a more forgiving perspective.


9)  Use music or comedy to make you laugh and lighten up heavy thoughts

Listening to great mood inducing music or watching a funny movie or show does wonders to shift your emotions and help clear your mind.  This is also a great tool for general stress relief.


10)  Travel to other cities, cultures, venues

This is one of the best ways to broaden your perspective, world view, and level of tolerance for differences. Travel can also get your mind on what’s new and different, and see issues from a completely new angle.  

DIVE DEEPER:  Boost your self-perspective, confidence, and resilience by mastering how you think about your life story here.

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