You know the old saying “perspective is everything”?
Well, I believe fully in this and always try to go back to it when I am struggling with something, either physically or emotionally. This theory was proven to me once again this past weekend.
I just returned from Parris Island, South Carolina, where I was privileged to witness my niece graduate Marine Corps boot camp. It was AWESOME to say the least. She not only graduated, but she also received the Molly Marine Award that is given to the person (voted on by their platoon) that exemplifies all the traits that make a Marine.
While I found all of this an amazing accomplishment, what I found the absolute most admirable was her perspective about the whole experience. Throughout the day, we got to hang out with her and hear different stories about boot camp. At one point, she summarized it as “that was a good time.” I stopped in my tracks when she said it and just looked at her with awe.
I told her I felt certain that, of all of the Marines that were graduating with her that day, there may not actually be another one that would describe it like that. She just smiled. I decided then and there that she was my new hero.
Later, I continued to reflect on all of the things that she said and the fact that I could literally feel how proud she was of her accomplishment. She was not arrogant in the least, but there was this powerful and calm energy about her.
I wondered about all of the people that began boot camp with her and did not finish, as well as those that finished but hated every moment of it. In contrast to my niece, their perspective broke them. My niece’s perspective made her successful in not only graduating, but also in the positive way she felt about the entire 13 weeks.
What I realized is that, of course, not every moment of boot camp was fun for her. Of course there were parts that were terrible, and humbling, and that challenged her to her limits. However, she didn’t see those parts as defeating. She also didn’t see them as just something she survived.
Instead, she saw them as things that she accomplished. Goals that she achieved. She made up her mind to do this, and charged forward straight through to the end. No one else did that for her and she recognized that. Even in the worst moments, she never gave up on herself or even doubted herself.
This is where I think many of us could learn from her. All too often we get caught up in how much something doesn’t feel good in the moment and, all too often we throw our hands giving up. We are plagued with a can’t do attitude and lose faith in what we are capable of.
Sometimes this is in our personal lives. Sometimes in our jobs. Probably, even more often, when it comes to our health.
I wish that I could bottle my niece’s mindset. I wish I could package her energy and sprinkle it on each one of us. Though it’s easy to believe that she just possesses some magic gene that gives her this perspective (and I must say she does have great DNA! :-)), it’s not that at all.
It’s not all fun times and feel good moments for her. That’s not it. Instead, it’s her acceptance of all the moments, challenges, and experiences she has. For her, it’s just moving through them because she’s knows that she can achieve whatever she sets her mind to.
We each have this in us. Every single one of us. It takes time, persistence, and being willing to fight for what you want for yourself. But, if you are willing to change your perspective, you really can change your own world. What’s stopping you?