Perspective is Everything
To take advantage over adversity, perspective is everything.
It’s your choice. It is always your choice when anything happens to you or for you. To be a victim or a victor is always a choice.
A close friend of mine, Corey ‘Pitts’ Pitsillidi, owner of Plus Health & Performance on the Central Coast, NSW, was once a videographer for professional surfers and aspired to one day become a firefighter. However, these aspirations were diminished after Corey was involved in a catastrophic car accident a few years ago that resulted in traumatic injuries to his body.
An excerpt from Corey's personal blog talks about the injuries in detail:
'I had sustained fractures to my lower back, my neck, tibia, fibula and femur. I snapped my Achilles, which required my leg to remain in suspension to try to lengthen and reconnect the muscle. Above all these soft tissue injuries, I sustained neurological injuries: a head injury to the right side of my brain, with the first noticeable symptom being a weakness that would affect the whole left side of my body.
It was at this moment that my entire lifestyle flashed in front of my eyes. Would I ever be able to get back into the water? Could I one day become a firefighter? Could I ever keep up with the top surfers and capture the pictures and videos they needed to promote their sport?
It took me some time to come back to the reality of what happened. It wasn’t until some of my friends and family came to visit that I realised in its entirety what had happened and how my life was about to change.'
From this adversity, Corey’s original aspirations to continue with his career in videography for professional surfing and potentially becoming a firefighter had been turned upside down. From there, with the help of friends, family and mentors, Corey was presented with an opportunity that led him to find a new path and a new passion to fulfil his life. Physical training and CrossFit saved him, helping build him back up to a superior and more resilient version of himself. He undertook training courses and certifications to learn as much as he could about training and how to help others like himself.
'My vision: to rehabilitate and save people the way I had been saved,' says Corey.
Corey is an excellent example of strength and this small excerpt doesn’t do justice on how much he had to suffer and work through his injuries to get to where he is today. He is an inspirational example of someone who just went ahead and did it. Corey is a testament of constant optimism through adversity by the measure of his actions and how he managed to build a thriving gym in the competitive fitness industry. Built from passion, discipline and will.
The idea is that it all comes down to your perception, actions and will. We all battle with blockages, obstacles and challenges but it is how you perceive them that will determine what they will become. It is often the case that the negative things that happen to us, in fact, could turn into a tremendous positive, or a bullet that has been dodged. But only if we search and look for the positive because our perception can be the source of our strength. It can also become our greatest weakness.
The best way to take advantage of adversity is to spend time looking objectively at any circumstance. Understand that things happen to us. However, our subjective perception is what makes something good or bad.
The phrase 'this happened and it is bad' refers to two different expressions. The first, ‘this happened’, is objective. The second, ‘it is bad’, is subjective. It is simply what you believe and your choice if it is bad or good and what you make of it.
You have to take YOU out of the situation and see it for what it is. From there you can take a third person view of the situation and look at it as if you were helping a friend. You may have noticed how you are usually better at helping friends from an outside perspective rather than when you are directly involved.
'Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.' - Ryan Holiday.
It is key to acknowledge the difference between the right and wrong perspective in any situation. Your perspective is the tool you use to interpret any situation. It is the reason why things can be seen as a negative or a positive.
Once we create the right perspective then it is up to us to take the right action.
What is up to us:
What is not up to us:
Other people's actions
We can only mildly influence some of the external factors like controlling our attitude by training to minimise injury. Or, to be smart with our driving and pay attention to minimise accidents.
Become present in the moment, do not spend time dwelling on the past because that can make you feel down. Sure, set goals for the future, but don’t stress on the unknowns of the future because that just creates anxiety. Focus instead on being present and doing the best you can right now.
See the opportunity in each event presented to you. Basically, have the mindset that whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger and that no matter what life throws at you, you will be OK. Let go of the situation and what you perceive will happen. It is essential to embrace the mindset that every obstacle is an opportunity to learn. This will help advance our goals, as applying more action to what is uncomfortable will lead to more progress and overall satisfaction.
Finally, the event itself is never actually the worst thing that could happen to you but the worst thing to happen could be how you choose to react to it. The way you respond, adapt and overcome the event is purely what you believe and perceive to be true.
Food for thought
What do you believe is negatively affecting you right now? Are you a victim of circumstance? What is a challenge you can flip on its head to help better yourself? Do things happen to you, or for you?