We often see what we are looking for, in fact, I would say that it is very hard to NOT see what you are looking for, it is what I call the Mazda Miata effect. I rarely saw Miata’s on the road when I did not own one, but the minute I purchased one, they seemed to pop up all over the landscape. It is not like Mazda suddenly imported a glut of Miata’s to fill the landscape, they were always there, I just did not see them.
Where we look is what we see. What we expect is what we see, the things we see are the things we are looking for and the places we search.
If you look for trouble, then you will find what you are looking for almost every time. If you look for things to turn out badly, then things will turn out badly almost every time. If you expect things to be difficult, then things will be difficult most all the time. It is your expectation that colors your experience. You are looking for Miatas and they are everywhere.
I have had some wonderful opportunities to see what changing my expectation does for the way that i feel about a situation. The best one I have had was in my work at the O’Leary Health Center when I switched from working for the government (salaried doctor) to a payment model where I was paid for each patient seen (fee for service). In essence I went for working for someone to working for myself (any discussion about the toughness of the boss is really another post all together). This switch happened on a weekend. On Friday I was Salaried and on Monday I was Fee for Service. Nothing else changed. I was in the same office, with the same nurses and support staff, used the same examination rooms, saw the same patients and my schedule was the same as it had been for the previous year. The only thing that ‘changed’ was how I was being paid and for ‘whom’ I was working. Yet my attitude and point of view changed profoundly. Suddenly it was no big deal to work someone in to my schedule. I looked forward to work, and the work I was doing. I felt like a weight had lifted of my shoulders. I felt like my future was laid out ahead of me and it looked wonderful. This was what I felt during lunch on that first day, and all I had done that day was work a usual Monday morning. The thing that had changed was my point of view, my expectation, the way that I felt about the situation. The fundamental reality of the day was no different, my point of view was different.
This was the first of many understandings I have come to about the profound impact that our point of view has on how we feel about everything. “Reality as we know it” is not the truth, the world around us has no meaning until we give it meaning. The rain or snow has no meaning until we observe it and give it a meaning. It might mean we stay in and rest, or it might mean a cancelled outing, either way it is just water falling form the sky, the meaning arises from within ourselves, and that meaning is the one thing that we have complete control over in our lives.
There are many ways to change your point of view about the world. This lovely lady in her TEDx Talk speaks of how her point of view shifted dramatically from her near death experience. Suddenly she was aware of a much bigger world, aware of the role that her perception of that world had upon her life. She learned to change the way she looked at her world, her place in it, and the effect that her point of view had upon how the world seemed to present itself to her. You can achieve this same thing without having to face near death to bring it about (and believe me when I tell you, having had a few near death experiences, it hurts far less to figure it out without trying to die first). For centuries, monastics and other religious folk have used meditation to quiet the mind so that they could see the effect that their perception had on the view of the world. Past Life Regression, Hakomi Psychotherapy, Meditation, Mindfulness, Focus therapy, or just learning to pay attention to your thoughts are all methods of achieving this same heightened view of the world, and our place within that world. They are all ways to see where we fit in, the effect of our point of view on the world that we see, and provide us with the knowledge to change who we are into who we wish to be.
When we change the was that we choose to look at the world, then the world changes before our eyes. Your point of view, the meaning that you give to the world will be the difference between the life that you have and the life that you prefer. Change your point of view and you change everything.