Plants expanding their leaves

Expand Your Perspective to Make Better Decisions

Did you know that your inner dialogue is one of the best indicators of your success?

We should practice improving our internal dialog to help ourselves see the truth. 

The truth can be hard to stomach when the ego gets involved. 

That’s why a reflection process is vital to your success.

I’m not talking about ruminating on your mistakes while you struggle to fall asleep. 

You need a system that works for your personality. 

It starts with listening to the stories we are telling ourselves all throughout the day.

We can decide to rewrite our inner story from a lens that is more helpful to us. 

This is how we can become happier, 

more productive, 

smarter, 

calmer, 

resilient, 

etc. 

When we train ourselves, we step back from our expectations and allow ourselves to see the situation a little more clearly, then it becomes easier to rewrite the story so that we can take purposeful action.

Dr. Anat Arzi and his colleagues were able to retrain the brain to associate smoking with a rotten egg smell, helping them quit the habit. (1) 

Someone who loves to smoke can associate it with disdain by associating something disgusting like rotten eggs. 

This is a very sophisticated process that they are using, 

but it shows you the power of your brain and proves that you can retrain how you view your internal dialogue. 

You can do the same thing when you train yourself. 

Inner Dialogue

Similarly, 

Dr. Moran Cerf has shown through brain scans that we carry stories around with us. 

It helps us make decisions. 

This can also hold us back if we aren’t careful. 

He talks about how we use our memory. 

If I ask you what you had for lunch yesterday and you answer, 

you pulled this information from your memory. 

If I ask you the same question about the same meal the next day, 

you will pull that from your memory, 

but you might add extra detail. 

You’ve changed this memory, 

which means you can change the past for yourself. 

This is how coaching, 

training, 

therapy, 

journaling, 

etc. 

works to help you improve your decision-making skills.

Let’s say you had a difficult decision go awry when you were younger. 

You made a tough call at work, 

and it didn’t work out. 

The next day a colleague yelled at you in the middle of a meeting. 

You feel belittled. 

You begin to worry about your decision-making and you struggle with confidence. 

You become reluctant to make tough decisions. 

The more you pull this memory into your consciousness, 

the more you deepen this experience. 

It influences your future decision-making. 

This awareness is vital to learning and growing from the situation.

You can choose to change this story by viewing it from another lens. 

A different lens might be that your colleague felt insecure about himself and needed to feel superior. 

If you focus on that aspect of the situation and practice forgiving him, 

you’ll begin to change that memory. 

You’ll bring more empathy and compassion to the memory and eventually be able to change the memory, 

so it’s not about failure but about learning and growing.

Powerful Questions

“Dig deep within yourself, for there is a fountain of goodness ever ready to flow if you will keep digging.” – Marcus Aurelius

It’s about changing the lens in how you view the past situation and how you can adjust to make better decisions in the future. 

That’s the power of great questions.

You might also ask yourself:

“Would I want my son to forgive his best friend?”

Or

“Do I want my son to seek understanding and compassion?”

By asking yourself these questions, 

you set up the situation for a more positive outcome. 

This helps you find the desire to change how you view this past story. 

You dig a little deeper to find the hidden gem that will allow you to view the situation from an angle that helps you keep growing instead of staying hooked by your emotions.

You’ll help yourself change how you view yourself. 

If you train yourself to reframe the memory for a bit, 

but then you go back and reinforce the trauma of the memory, 

you won’t change how you view the memory or yourself. 

You must dig deep enough to believe in your answer. 

If there is too much doubt, 

you won’t change. 

You must be willing to see another side of the situation that allows you to forgive, 

appreciate and move forward.

This is the game that we all play every single day. 

We decide who we are and how flexible we can be

If we believe we are kind, 

we’ll see more kindness out in the world because we want to view the world in this way. 

This is the beauty of our minds. 

We become resilient because our hope for a better future drives us forward.

You feel lighter when you uncover thoughts and emotions that regularly hook you. 

I struggle with feeling stupid. 

When my wife pokes fun at me, 

I often take it personally instead of being able to laugh at myself. 

Summary

The lens through which I see myself can often be negative. 

A common belief is that I’m stupid and need to protect myself from looking foolish. 

A recent example is that I couldn’t find my coffee mug, 

and I thought I might have left it outside or in the car, 

but I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. 

I finally found it. 

It was cleaned and returned to the cabinet where we keep our coffee mugs. 

I felt stupid for not looking in the cabinet. 

My wife joked, “It’s exactly where it should be.” 

I felt hurt by her innocent comment. 

My lens turned from frustration into “I was stupid”, and it felt like she piled on top, 

making me feel even more ridiculous. 

Instead of hanging out with her and my mom, 

I went to bed because I didn’t like how she treated me. 

She felt bad. 

I felt terrible.

After I calmed down, 

we discussed my reaction, 

and I shared how her comment made me feel incompetent. 

She shared that she was only trying to be playful. 

We felt better after digging into the situation and sharing how we felt. 

When we dig into our feelings, 

we begin to understand why we couldn’t accomplish what we wanted to achieve in the past. 

We expand our self-awareness.

We see the pattern more clearly, and we aren’t as likely to get so hurt by it next time.

Our lens of life can often make us feel unworthy. 

Of course, 

we can’t make good decisions if we are worried about looking foolish. 

We procrastinate to avoid making a mistake.  

We hold ourselves back from the success that is right at our fingertips.

How can you expand your perspective by asking better questions?

Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

  1. A. Arzi, Y. Holtzman, P. Samnon, N. Eshel, E. Harel, N. Sobel. Olfactory Aversive Conditioning during Sleep Reduces Cigarette-Smoking Behavior. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014; 34 (46): 15382 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2291-14.2014