Going Round In Circles

by Lance Ekum on · 78 comments

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” ~ Charles Dickens,  A Tale of Two Cities

Going Round In Circles

Going round in circles.  What’s your first thought when hearing these words?  For me, it’s of being stuck.  Or being unable to break an endless loop.  How does your perception of this statement change, though, after watching the short video up above?  Going round in circles is a very joyful moment!  A completely opposite perception based upon how we look at these same words in a different context.


By definition:  Perception is a mental image, or to regard as being such.

We all make perceptions.  And how we perceive an event can mean the difference between it being stressful, or not, for us.  Thinking about the video again, if a child says:

“I’m going round and round in circles”

Our perception might easily be of something happy and fun (like in the video above).

However, if an adult says:

“I’m going round and round in circles”

Our perception is much more likely to be that this is a stressful situation that they are stuck in.

What Does All This Mean?

Our perception becomes our reality.  As we perceive things is how we see them.  So, when we’re perceiving something to be “bad”, or “negative”, or anything that might be creating extra stress in our lives – this is a good time to stop and evaluate what our perceptions are.  Are there perceptions we’re making that could be causing extra stress?  And if so, are there ways we can change our perceptions to also change our stress levels?

I’m reminded of a training session I attended recently on leadership.  My perception was that I would be taking this training session all day long, and that was way too long to be sitting in a classroom listening to someone explain leadership.  My perception of training sessions was that of a lecture style of instructing.  So, I went into the class in a defensive mood, thinking six to seven hours would be way too long to be lectured at.  In fact, the training session was very interactive, and involved lots of group work.  And only limited lecture style teaching.  I had created un-needed stress on myself because of how I thought, or perceived, all training sessions are taught.   It took a while to change these perceptions around.  And until I did adjust my perceptions, this was still my reality – even thought that wasn’t the case at all.  My mind still believed we would be switching to lectures.  I kept thinking – that the lecture style teaching would be starting any minute.  And this kept the stress levels up.  Until I finally accepted that my perception of this training class was incorrect – that the style being used was interactive.  Once I changed my perceptions, my stress levels dropped, and I felt more relaxed.

Perception.  The next time you find yourself getting some extra stress coming on because of how you’re perceiving at event, look for ways to change your perception.  Look for ways to put a more positive spin on it all.  And see if your stress levels don’t drop because of this.

Do you have certain situations in your life that seem to be more stressful?  Could changing your perception of these situations or events reduce the stress?

Note: This video was graciously provided today by John, who writes Stress Tips – a blog all about finding ways to restore balance and joy to our lives.  The little boy in the video is John’s grandson…going round and round in circles.  Thanks John!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Rupal January 28, 2009 at 5:14 am

Cute video and great topic Lance. This reminds me of a time when I started a continuing education course. In my field, it is optimal to try out multiple disciples of the same course in order to get the full gamut of experience under your belt so this had been the second course I had taken in this same area of expertise. The first experience I had was rather bleak, boring, ‘you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know’ type stuff, so naturally I expected something similar of the second course. After about 5 minutes into the lecture, I was BLOWN away at the instructors style of teaching and method of connecting to the students. TOTALLY changed my perception of what I was learning and how I received the information. It is an ongoing 7 month long course (1 weekend a month) and I look forward to it every time, not to mention my interest has peaked tenfold and it has definitely made me a better practitioner.

have a great day! ~rupal

Rupal´s last blog post..Crowd Pusher!


Miz January 28, 2009 at 5:46 am


for me it was the realization that, in some situations, stress and excitement are 2 sides of the same coin!
now I try to change my perception to excitement (stresscitement) and not focus on the frazzle or panic.

hard for me to do at times—-but worth the struggle

Miz´s last blog post..An Exercise Band Video for the Bumblers.


Daphne January 28, 2009 at 5:58 am

Hi Lance,

You made a great point, that our perception creates our reality, and changing that perception can immediately change our reality.

We just celebrated Chinese New Year during which all the relatives get together. I used to think this gathering was crowded and noisy and stressful, but this year I thought that it was wonderful that everyone was getting to know each other better, and I enjoyed it so much this year!

Daphne´s last blog post..Becoming A Person of Value


brandi January 28, 2009 at 6:39 am

this is an amazing post. I love the message (and the little cute video).

thank you for the very pertinent reminder.

brandi´s last blog post..mantra monday:: be a joy rebel


Stacey Shipman January 28, 2009 at 7:30 am

I was taught once that nothing in life means anything until we, as individuals, put a meaning on it. Which is why there are so many different ways of thinking and beliefs. When I heard this and applied it to my life and my decisions, it made complete sense.

I do it to myself all the time, especially when I’m feeling fearful. I tell myself “I don’t want to do it. It won’t be good.”, then I do it and all is ok in the end. Perception, for me is almost imaginary.


Karl - Work Happy Now January 28, 2009 at 7:38 am

I’ve done the same exact thing when I had training before too. I built up the pain in my head and it never came to fruition. You are right we need to understand why we are doing this, let it go and find the positive in the situation. It isn’t easy and we want to keep going back to what we expect the situation to be.

It’s all about practice. We have to keep trying and trying to create a habit that will stick. Once we stop letting our imagination take us way that’s when we can enjoy the situation for what it really is.

Karl – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Does Your Mission Inspire?


David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.com January 28, 2009 at 7:53 am

I think it’s important to see the benefit of stress. Without stress of some kind, we wouldn’t get anything done. Stress is motivating.

– Dave

David at Animal-Kingdom-Workouts.com´s last blog post..Free Fitness Ebook


Liz Rosenbaum January 28, 2009 at 8:04 am

I need to print this out and hang it on my fridge for the constant reminder! We had a successful business for 8 years and then decided we weren’t finding much joy in running it. My husband decided he wanted to get into nursing to become a nurse anesthetist. (YIKES!) Well, you know what that means… TONS and TONS of school! For the last few years, he’s been taking pre-req’s and working full time as a CNA (not the lifestyle we were used to – believe me!) It’s been taking him a long time to get those pre-req’s done because he’s had to take the hard ones like chemistry and physiology twice because it’s so competitive in to get into a nursing program that B- grades won’t cut it. Anyway, it’s been hard not to feel like we’re going around and around in circles, but I need to change my attitude and just enjoy the journey. Thank you so much for this reminder!

Liz Rosenbaum´s last blog post..Simple Way to Improve the Quality of Life


Jenny Mannion January 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

Hi Lance,
Great post! It reminds me of my favorite Wayne Dyer quote that I have in front of me, “When you change the way you look at tings the things you look at change”. This was critical in healing as I was always having “the cup is half empty” kind of perceptions.

On going around in circles…. maybe the trick is to enjoy the ride like the kids do. Maybe the ride in the circle is to notice the things along the way until we find something that makes us want to reach out and hold on, stopping the movement and propelling us forward in the direction we need to go.

Thanks Lance. I have felt similar about a few areas of my life and have been very hard on myself because of it the last 24 hours. I will now meditate on why this circle is perpetuating itself and what I am meant to notice on the ride. You always make me think and for THAT and your wise words I am very grateful.

Love, Jenny

Jenny Mannion´s last blog post..Interview with James Sinclair, Director of “What If?” Part I


Evelyn Lim January 28, 2009 at 8:21 am

Recent events made me realize that I could either look at them as difficulties or consider them as life lessons. When I decided that I would rather choose the latter, I also found that I had the ability to create a better outcome for myself. I ended up enjoying myself so much more, with a change in perspective. To an abundance of joy, come what may!!

Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Benefits To Meditation


Tammie @ Are You For Real? January 28, 2009 at 8:59 am

Lance, you’ve made a great point here. One that bears more pondering … not just about how ‘I’ perceive things, but also how other’s perceive things I lead. For example, my husband and I are in ministry, so I’m thinking … how can we change what we do, so that the perception of what we are leading/teaching/studying will be one of excitement and interest, rather than one of fear of inadequacy or rejection or failure or boredom.

Tammie @ Are You For Real?´s last blog post..How To Use Blessings?


Stacey / Create a Balance January 28, 2009 at 9:02 am

Perspective is directly connected to how we all experience life. I firmly believe our perspectives determine our experience in life, not our circumstances.


Arswino January 28, 2009 at 9:31 am

Hi Lance. I think perception is the ability of our brain to make imagination about something, like Stacey said, and it can be trained. If we train our brain always to focus on positive things, than we almost certainly have positive perception as well.
Great post, Lance. Thanks for sharing.

Arswino´s last blog post..Sacrifice Play


J.D. Meier January 28, 2009 at 9:36 am

So true, perception is our reality.

Lately, I’ve noticed how powerful our personal success patterns or personal anti-patterns are. The first step is to notice, the next step is to evaluate, should it stay or should it go, then the tough step is making the change and making it stick.

J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Avoid Mental Burnout


rummuser January 28, 2009 at 9:47 am

Lance, have you come across the phenomenon of something that you notice keep coming back again and again? Recently, this has been happening to me with people with hearing difficulties. I seem to keep getting them in my life all the time and I am getting mired in misunderstandings between some of them and sometimes get dragged into such misunderstandings and am unable to get out of it. I do not seem to be able to make any progress and I consider this as going around in circles without being able to get out of it with any action on my part.

rummuser´s last blog post..How Long Do You Wish To Live?


Jennifer January 28, 2009 at 10:03 am

Hi Lance. Thanks for such a powerful lesson. It’s one I learned a while back and it changed my life and it continues to as I become more and more aware of everything in my life. I love the quote Jenny mentioned – so true!

It’s funny, my husband had the same exact experience you did with some training he is doing this week at work. He was really dreading all the stress, but he came home last night full of so much good information he had learned from the day.

I’m really identifying with Jenny today – been beating myself up too. (Hi JM. 🙂 ) I’ve taken a long hard look at a perception that I’ve had of something all my life (at least as long as I remember) that has affected the way I live my whole life in a negative way – kept me going in circles :). I’ve accepted this, learned from the ride and am now changing it. PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING!

Jennifer´s last blog post..Should I or Should I not?


Amanda Linehan January 28, 2009 at 10:37 am

Lance – Great reminder on how we can look at things from a different angle before we pass judgement. Just taking a moment to see how things might be different can make all the difference.

Amanda Linehan´s last blog post..How To Live In The Moment (When It’s The Last Place You Want To Be)


Tess The Bold Life January 28, 2009 at 10:40 am

Hi Lance,
I learned how to shift my percpetion when my four daughters were teenagers. They were still difficult years however knowing that my percpetion was one thing I could change made a world of difference.

Now I practice shifting my perception with my son-in-laws, it works like a charm!

Loved the video and checked out StressTips

Tess The Bold Life´s last blog post..Big & Bold Mondays = 1/7 of Your Life


Bri January 28, 2009 at 10:40 am

Right on, Lance. My own “perception issue” right now is how overwhelmed I feel about being a stay at home mom and the stress of all our out of town family coming to visit after the baby’s born. Instead, I’ve been trying to focus on how awesome and excited and helpful my husband is rather than my own worries.

Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

Bri´s last blog post..E-Business


Vered - MomGrind January 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

I completely agree about the power of perception. One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband is that his perception of reality tends to be so much more positive than mine. He inspires me and helps me to change my own perception.


Patricia January 28, 2009 at 12:21 pm

enjoyed your words and video very much – very good post to read this morning while waiting for the Internet guy to come and start my new service.

Every morning I walk 2 times about the circle of the Lake – 3 miles. I have a whole circle of friends who also walk the lake every morning. So circle has a very positive feeling for me….I too am writing about changing my perceptions this week…changing my thinking …out loud on my posts…
My focus has been on the daily meditations of the Essenes and this zen proverb: “The Obstacle is the Path”.
My words are a bit more earthy…and grounded – not as fun as a merry go round.
I just missed a leadership retreat because of the torn muscles. I think my studies may have brought me to the same conclusions?

Patricia´s last blog post..Me vs. Them


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet January 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Hi Lance

What’s the phrase now? Something like 95% of your worries never come about and the other 5% aren’t as bad as you think they will be.

I may have the numbers and words a bit wrong, but you get the idea.

Thank you for this. At the moment I need to look at some perceptions.


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..Overcoming The Barriers Of Introversion: Starting The Process


Annette January 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm

cute 😉 I feel like a lot of my days are spent going round in circles. I chase twins 2 yr olds, clean up messes, make meals, clean up the meal, clean up the rest of the mess…….and on and on 😉 The days, I tend to let things slide……eat leftovers or sandwiches, or cereal, leave toys on the floor ;)……I feel more relaxed and a lot less dizzy. I do appreciate this good busy-ness now. Wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Annette´s last blog post..Can’t Get Enough of…………..


Mark January 28, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Lance you have made a great point on perceptions. Much of our stress is self imposed because of our perceptions of a situation. Fear is all about perception. Perception is another way of imagination. We imagine what is going to happen before it happens or we inject some past experiencing into our present experience which alters our perception. The key is to live in the now and be open to the possibilities without pre-judging.

Mark´s last blog post..Sharing Our Stories and Discovering Communities


Gennaro January 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Interesting take on going around in circles. For me, it has always had a negative connotation. A connection with the mundane, but I can definately see where it can be looked at as freeing. Especially in relation to children.

I think we could learn a lot from observing our children. Their way of looking at the world.

Gennaro´s last blog post..Wilderness, Where Art Thou?


Mark Salinas January 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Okay…my mind has to start digging deep again! 🙂 With children it is mostly going around in circles. Isn’t it?


Kathy @ Virtual Impax January 28, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Oh Lance -I love your honesty here in sharing your feelings regarding the seminar. Thanks for “digging deeper” and sharing the whole process!!!

This is yet another reminder that first impressions are TOUGH to overcome. Stacey is so right – perception is EVERYTHING!!

Kathy @ Virtual Impax´s last blog post..First Impressions and the Placebo Effect


Broderick Allen January 28, 2009 at 1:06 pm

I like the video. Short, but completely gets the point across. We’re going to come across times where we get stuck, so we can either bring unnecessary stress upon ourselves or decide to take a different perspective and enjoy the ride.

Broderick Allen´s last blog post..Life is Short?


Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations January 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm


I think the concept of people’s perceptions is a great thing to observe and study because we are empowered or de-powered by the tapes that play in our mind and these tapes lead to the attitudes and perceptions that we have about the world and the way we view it and the people in it.

It takes a lot to become aware of our own tapes, let alone to become in charge of them enough to start to make changes in them. But I believe it to be a VERY worthy task!

Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog post..Field Trip


Liara Covert January 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm

To become aware you are going around in circles is a wonderful stage in self-development. Only after you realize you are on a merry-go-round are you in a position to decide whether that experience serves you any longer. Next, you realize you are in an informed decision to consider meaningful, person change.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..How do you discern your lessons?


Robin January 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

You must have a suppressed fear of lectures, Lance! Did something really bad happen in one, once? heehee

I’ve done the same thing – invent something and then get upset about it – it’s great when we can step outside of it and re-interpret what’s going on. See you!- R

Robin´s last blog post..Guy Finley Followed By An Illustrated Meme.


Laurie January 28, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I have been avoiding writing some new curriculum because I am not sure what all it will involve. It is stressing me out but I need to get it done so I can be prepared for a gig I have in March. I need to tweak my perspective so I will tackle it instead of avoid it. The task has really been intimidating me.


Angel January 28, 2009 at 7:27 pm

This is relevant and true. And the “going in circles” image was a perfect example. For kids, it’s a good things. To adults, it’s not. Perceptions are real to many of us but they can be dangerous when are vision is skewed. It only reinforces the need to be patient, open your eyes, and try to see things for what the really are. Thanks, Lance.


Sagan January 28, 2009 at 8:06 pm

I really like this. When we change our perception, anything negative can become something positive.

Sagan´s last blog post..Eat Your Veggies!


Marelisa January 28, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Hi Lance: You’re absolutely right that stress is caused by the way we perceive a situation, rather than by the situation itself. There’s a story of a woman who’s at the airport waiting for her flight. She’s reading from her book and all of a sudden a man starts eating from her cookie bag which is on the table right next to her. She takes a few cookies herself and tries to ignore him, but he just keeps taking cookies. She gets more and more upset by the nerve of the man until her flight is finally called. By this time the cookie bag is empty so she gets up in a huff and leaves. When she’s seated aboard the plane she looks in her purse for a magazine and lo and behold, her cookie bag was in her purse. The other cookie bag wasn’t hers, it belonged to the man whom she had mentally insulted over and over again, and he was gladly sharing his cookies with her. So, it is all about perception.

Marelisa´s last blog post..20 Creative Thinking Techniques


Sara at On Simplicity January 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm

I love Marelisa’s story! I’ve certainly done that–let my perceptions color my view of a person negatively, only to have them blow my perceptions out of the water. I try to learn from those times and be more open-minded.

Having confidence to enjoy oneself and perform well in a variety of settings would take some of us a long way toward letting go of those unfounded perceptions you describe.

Sara at On Simplicity´s last blog post..My Dirty Blogging Secret


SpinDiva January 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Lance, this is an excellent post and it comes at the perfect time in my life. I find that one of the biggest stresors in the life of military families is moving time. When those PCS orders come in we realize we have to start the cleaning process, selling our house, packing or at least planning for others to pack, getting the kids records from school and, huge AND, worrying about what adventures the next place might bring. Try selling that to the kids.

I learned early on to not think about the stressful parts of the move but instead create a positive perception for me, the kids, and my husband. This has made for easier moves, easier transitions and we truly love to begin our adventure before we even move by researching our new home online and discussing with others who have already been there, etc. We are coming up on a move, not sure to where, but as soon as we do we will once again start the plans early and by the time we arrive we will be ready to hit the ground running.

Thanks for this post, it serves as a great reminder to the way our attitudes can affect our lives.

SpinDiva´s last blog post..Are you stuck? Here’s a quick, fat burning workout


Happiness Is Better January 28, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Perception is a powerful thing.

I try to keep in mind that things can always be worse so be thankful that they are indeed, not.

Very cool post!

Happiness Is Better´s last blog post..Interview: Financial Independence Through Dividends and Thrift


Lance January 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

@Rupal – Great story of how perceptions can really set the course for how you look at an event. Thanks for sharing it here – and good luck with the rest of the class! Sounds like you’re having a blast with it!

@Miz – Stresscitement – I love that word Miz! Makin’ it exciting – a great way to forget the frazzle. Probably hard for most of us at times – me for sure. I’ll be trying this one out!

@Daphne – A wonderful story of how changing perception really changed how you viewed this time together with family. You indeed changed your reality by changing your perception!

@Brandi – Thank you Brandi! The video is cute – the smile gets me every time!

@Stacey Shipman – The idea of putting our meaning on things/decision/etc – this is good. What does this mean to me? This idea does make so much sense Stacey. What does this really mean? Asking that one question really set our reality to be based on what something means. I’m still thinking on this one…

@Karl – Yes, it’s easy to slip back into our perceptions, even when we can see that they are not correct. I think this is where Stacey’s idea of meaning can come into play. If we can find the meaning associated with this ‘thing’ – then we can be more focused on the true reaility.

@David – That’s a good point David. Stress has benefits also. It’s not as though we should remove it completely. A good example is in working out. Our muscles grow when they are stressed.

@Liz – Thanks for sharing your (and your husband’s) story. I think this is a great example of going around and around. It can seem like it’s bad – that’s what our typical perspective would tell us. Yet, maybe if we adjust our perspective – there is good in this ‘journey’. I’m sure there is. Thanks for your openness here today Liz. I think so many of us can relate to this story you’ve shared.


Lance January 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

@Jenny Mannion – So, maybe it’s about appreciating the ride. And noticing what’s there, along this circle we traveling in. I love how you’re taking this and looking at where you are on this circle – and really looking for what there is to notice along it’s continuum. And, thank you for sharing that quote by Wayne Dyer – it fits so well. Jenny, thank you for all of this.

@Evelyn – What a great example of changing perspective Evelyn! From a perspective of difficulty to on of life lessons. And look hwo much better this was for you, for your psyche! Awesome Evelyn!

@Tammie – You’re looking at this a different way – and I think you’re bringing up an important point. We can help to facilitate the changing of other’s perceptions by thinking about how what we do might be perceived by others. Excellent point, and I wish you well in your endeavors Tammie!

@Stacey/Create A Balance – Yes, we do experience life through the lens of perspective we look through. And I agree, it’s all in how we view our circumstances.

@Arswino – What we focus on is what becomes important to us. And this all affects our perception, and in turn, how we really experience life. Thanks Arswino.

@J.D. Meier – I like the idea here of personal success patterns. And I think you’re completely right here – the most difficult piece is actually making a change that you planned for. The ‘doing’ is often the hardest…

@Rummuser – In fact, this is very interesting Ramana. I wrote this article early this morning. Published it. Had breakfast. Then went ot leave the house – so I stopped to say good-bye to my wife. She was unaware at that point that I had posted this, and even completely unaware of what I had written about. And she brought up perceptions. Then, I was in a training session all day – talking about dealing with difficult people – and it kept coming up about perceptions. Maybe I was more focused on this ‘word’ since I’d written this today. Yet, it seemed like something more. Like that theme of perception kept coming up over and over…

@Jennifer – Jenny shared a great quote, and it fits so well with the idea of perception. Okay, stop beating yourself up now (you don’t need to get hurt!). Going in circles, yet learning something on the ride – that’s an important point. We can be spinning our wheels, and still be learning something. And if this is happening then going around and around isn’t so bad. Perception is everything!


Lance January 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

@Amanda – Looking from a different angle can change our perception! We have to be willing to look, though, don’t we. Thanks Amanda.

@Tess – Hmmm…I’m not too far off from having a teenage daughter – are you trying to scare me!! Changing our perception – another great example you’ve shared, Tess. Thank you! And the vide is really cute, isn’t it!

@Bri – A new baby will definitely change our perception of things! It can be overwhelming – going in to being a stay at home mom – especially the first time – is so unknown. And having lots of company can also just add to the stress levels. I think what you’re doing is great – focusing on all the positives (like your husband) – to keep your perspective in the place it really needs to be at this time. Thank you for sharing this Bri.

@Vered – Our spouses can often become complements to us. And that’s a great thing – especially if they are pulling out all the good. Thanks for sharing this Vered.

@Patricia – I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this Patricia. That’s neat that you look at going around in circle in a very positive light – and it’s because of your reality – and hence – that’s how you perceive that saying. Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say on this.

@Juliet – So…sometimes (often) we perceive things to be worse than they really are. Things usually aren’t as bad as they seem – it’s easy to forget that one – as our perception tells us too often to worry…

@Annette – It’s all in how you look at it. Great example Annette! How are we perceiving this situation – in your case – being a Mom at home with a couple of kids. Do we see this as an opportunity to influence our children? Or do we see it as the drudgery of taking care of them,, feeding them, etc. Perspective…

@Mark – It’s way to easy to judge, isn’t it. Yet, this affect our perception – and our reality. To be in the now – and to be open – powerful.

@Gennaro – For me, I think of the circles as negative also. And I have kids round and round on merry go rounds! We really can learn much from children. Just look at the video above – and they joy that little boy is getting from going round and round in circles!

@Mark Salinas – Kids…yes, circles is a pretty common theme! Thanks Mark!

@Kathy@virtual Impax – Thanks Kathy. It really was a perception issue, the seminar. First impressions can carry over, too. In this case – I was basing my perception on something that had happened some time ago – with a completely different instructor.


Jannie January 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm

My performance coach, Marci Lynne Solomon always used to tell us we could come to the stage like lambs to slaughter or come with grace.

So I will approach my show on May 10th with grace and joy. And fun! I am setting it up as such. I AM CREATING MY OWN REALITY, making it happen instead of wondering “what if.” I am so happy with my guitar practice just these past few days, already seeing a big improvement in my playing and relaxation of my fingers.

I have certainly been in circular paatterns of inertia but I am no longer going ’round in circles with my dreams and I’ve never felt better.

I fully advise anyone with a dream to face the fear and push through the discomfort zone. It can be done!

(I hope this comment doesn’t come off to much as me, me, me, but I am just so excited to have broken my own circle cycle, and changed my attitude to be allow myself to succeed, I want to share my happiness and say that it can be done.)

P.S. John’s son is a one real little sweety-bopper. I thought at first maybe it was your son.

Jannie´s last blog post..Twinkle Shooters


Miss MatchMaker January 28, 2009 at 11:54 pm

What a great reminder! I think learning how to master your own perception is so very important in this journey we call life. Learning to change negative thoughts into positive one is not always easy but it is always worth it!


Miss MatchMaker´s last blog post..Drive through dating…


Diane January 29, 2009 at 12:50 am

Hi Lance!
I agree Lance usually it means they are stressed they can’t settle down and get the chatter down of all the lists to do or decide something or their direction. Perception is such a great thing to be aware of. Their are so many different views out their and sometimes even within us as we record our experiences through out our lives. I think we become expanded everytime we learn new perspectives and gain higher understanding for our fellow mankind. I think it makes us less prown to jump the gun (slow to anger) and take time see how unique we all are. As much as we like being with like minds our diversity is an enjoyment.
It creates a new awareness and humbles us too. It gives us a greater capacity to accept others in fresh light eyes. It deepens us!


Barbara Swafford January 29, 2009 at 1:18 am

Hi Lance – How true. It is how we perceive situations. Reminds me of when we get snow in our area. Many complain about it, but I always say, “I see dollar signs coming down”. You see, we do snow removal and it’s work for our employees, plus I love to look at it. For me, it’s a win-win. 🙂

Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..Celebrating NBOTW One Year Annivarsary With A Free E-Book


Natalia Burleson January 29, 2009 at 2:34 am

Hi Lance! Perception is a very important tool on how we handle things. I used to work in the insurance industry and when I was at my best I would take stressful phone calls and turn them around. Instead of thinking, great I’m listening to another person with problems and they are yelling at me..I hate my job! I would think of it as a challenge to turn the phone call around and have a happy satisfied cust by the end of the conversation. When I was taking my exam to become licensed for insurance, instead of feeling fear, I told myself that I was excited to take the test.

Even in our current situation with my husband’s layoff, my best days are when I look at the layoff like a blessing.

I think that any situation can be turned into a positive one if you change your perception. Perception is a choice! How do I choose to look at this situation, how will I let this affect me? It’s all up to me!

Sometimes it’s easier than others and the choice has to be made minute by minute!

Great post, Lance!

Natalia Burleson´s last blog post..LOL, or not…..


Henie January 29, 2009 at 2:49 am

Hi Lance!

Another great insightful post! Thank you!

Ahhh, yes…perception is the driver and belief is the passenger!

I will share this that I heard someone say:

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Best Always,


Giovanna Garcia January 29, 2009 at 3:06 am

Hi Lance

Most time when people say they are going around in a circle, I would tell them “You are going in a spiral.” Which means they are not going NO where, they are still going somewhere just in a spiral.

Great post, I enjoy reading it.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Giovanna Garcia´s last blog post..Henry Ford was not Perfect!


Davina January 29, 2009 at 4:17 am

Hi Lance. “Could changing your perception of these situations or events reduce the stress?” You better believe it! It makes SUCH a difference because adjusting your perceptions is another way of going with the flow. It’s the path of least resistance and lighter thoughts.

Davina´s last blog post..Shopping for Effective Attitudes


Lance January 29, 2009 at 4:43 am

@Broderick – Getting stuck – it happens to us all at some point. Or where we feel like we’re just going in circles. And that’s when, if we can change our perspective, we can lessen the stress in these moments…

@Wendi – The tapes that play in our minds – what is the message they’re sending? Awareness is a real key to this all. If we’re aware of what thoughts these tapes are playing, we can actively work to make any changes to them – and subsequently to our own perceptions and attitudes. Thank you Wendi.

@Liara – Awareness is coming up quite a bit – and for good reason. As we become more aware of our own selves, we can see better why we’re doing what we are – if that’s going in circles – or running straight past our desires – or getting mired in the mudpits of life. By becoming aware, we can more clearly see beyond where we’re at. Thank you Liara.

@Robin – Hmm…I can’t recall anything really bad happening! (maybe I’m suppressing something?!?!?) Inventing something in our minds – and something that pulls us off course. Or changes our perception in a less positive manner. Great point Robin, thanks much!

@Laurie – A wonderful illustration, Laurie. Of how our perception can hold us back from doing something. Maybe because we perceive unknown at ‘bad’ – we put things off sometimes. I do. Maybe it’s changing the perspective to one of excitement over what this gig in March might bring. Good luck with it Laurie, and thanks for sharing here.

@Angel – Yes, perceptions sure are real – it becomes the lens through which we view our world – right or wrong. Seeing things as they really are. Again, I think this goes back to Stacey Shipman’s point about how we must, individually, put meanings to things before they really mean something. The meaning is how we see it, or perceive to see it. Thank you Angel!

@Sagan – Perceptions can surely change negatives into positives (or vice versa). It’s indeed in how we look at things…

@Marelisa – That is a great story Mare! While it brings a chuckle – it also has an important lesson for us all. How easy it is to let our perceptions completely change a situation. Thanks much for this Mare!

@Sara – Marelisa’s story is great! I’ve been there too. Confidence…something that hasn’t been mentioned – yet it’s an excellent point Sara. By having confidence in ourselves – we can really open that door to letting our perceptions be more open to change. And that’s good – because sometimes they are going to be off. Thanks Sara!


Lance January 29, 2009 at 4:44 am

@SpinDiva – Because of a job that I had many years ago – we used to move quite often. It was both stressful and exciting. Yet, that was at a time when our kids were infants (and even before we had kids). Now, with all three well entrenched in school – I would see moving as being so difficult to ‘sell’ to them. So, I give you a ton of credit, SpinDiva. This can’t be easy. And it really sounds like you are using perception to your advantage – what a great thing to do. To focus on the exciting, instead of the unknown. And, I also thank you and your husband – for the sacrifices you make for our country. Thanks so much SpinDiva!!

@Happiness Is Better – Things can always be worse…yes, they can! Much worse. And that’s a great way to view perception…Thanks!

@Jannie – This is completely awesome Jannie!! You ARE creating your own reality. The perception of grace and joy and fun – it’s contagious – and I feel it rubbing off on me as I read your word here this morning!! And…not at all does come across in any negative format – stories like this are exactly what we need to hear. THANK YOU, Jannie, for sharing this – it is way cool!! JOhn’s grandson is a real cutie!!

@Miss MatchMaker – Mastering our perception – yes, getting to that point is such a great place to get to. To where we can change our reality by changing our perceptions. Looking through a lens of positivity is so good, I think. Thank you for this, Miss MatchMakter.

@Diane – That’s so true, I think also, Diane. We do become expanded by learning new perspectives. By being open to what else is out there. It changes us. Maybe not all the new perspectives are good, yet knowing them can be good. And knowing ourselves better through it all is powerfully freeing. Not jumping the gun – oh, that’s another great point. Getting to this spot in our lives – to where we can really objectively look at a situation before jumping in – how powerful that is too! Diane, you’ve given me so much to think about in this comment – thank you!!

@Barbara – The snow example is great Barbara! And one I can relate to here as well. It can mean two different things to two different people – perception being such an important thing. We might get some today…I”ll be thinking of you!

@Natalia – Your story about being on phone calls with difficult customers – thank you for this. We all have difficult people we deal with at some point in our lives. And how we deal with them can mean all the difference in the world. Just yesterday I was in a training session, and we focused solely on how to deal with difficult people. Not surprisingly, the idea of perception came up more than once. I love your attitude Natalia. The way you’re looking at your current situation, and the things I know you’re doing anyway. It all impresses me very much.. And more than that, my perceptions are expanded to see more of the good that is going on in this world. Thanks much Natalia!

@Henie – The quote you’ve shared – it’s a great one Henie! Jenny Mannion shared the same one up above – so I happen to know who coined it – Wayne Dyer. I like this metaphor – of perception as the driver and belief as the passenger. Belief, then, has the opportunity to look at the map, and help to define a course for the driver (perception) to take. Very cool!

@Giovanna – I love the thought of a spiral – it shows that while we’re maybe spinning in circles – we are still moving in some direction – and that’s great new! Thank you Giovanna!

@Davina – Going with the flow. Yes, another great way to look at this. Sometimes our perceptions hold us back, yet if we’d just “go with the flow” – we might just see that our perceptions are off-base. Thank you Davina!


Mindful Mimi January 29, 2009 at 7:47 am

Cute video and how true this post is.
We have our perceptions, preconceptions and prejudices for just about anything we do in life. Instead of going into something with an open mind, we go in having it all figured out already (and usually in the negative way as if we couldn’t wait to say ‘see, I told you I was going to hate this’).
What I try to do to keep an open mind is to create intention. Intention is the contrary of reaction. So by setting a clear intention before doing something or going somewhere, I am the one who decides what’s going to happen. And by deciding that I set the mood. I am not reacting to something because I already know how I will react for I have set the intention. For example, if I have to attend a business dinner with some clients I don’t really know, I go there with the intent to have a good time, to talk about topics that interest me, to find out more about who these people are and to limit business talk. And guess what? This has changed my business dinners, which I found to be a drag that came with the job, to interesting add-ons to my work. And I have met some very amazing people – because I was open to let them in. I read about luck the other day and how come some people seem to have all the luck and others just not. And a lot of it has to do with being open to it, to expect it to happen anytime. The researcher guy set some people up to go into the same bar, to have a coffee and sit down. On the way there he left on the same spot a money bill, and he placed some actors within the bar, one of which was a pretend millionnaire. Some test people went in, did not see the money, sat down next to the millionaire, had their coffee and left again. Other test cases went in, stumbled on the money, set next to the millionnaire and started chatting to him, thus finding out he was a millionaire and how they could benefit from each other etc. It’s all about intention and being open to, well, just about anything (good).

Mindful Mimi´s last blog post..In order to act, you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking — George Clemenceau


Henie January 29, 2009 at 7:52 am

Yes! That’s who it as…Wayne Dyer! Thank you, Jenny! And Lance…wow! You have really created a very powerful community here and I for one am thankful to be a part of it!

“Great works always comes from the heart!” ~Henie~


Maya January 29, 2009 at 11:55 am

Hi Lance,
A lot of my strength from perceiving things positively, while being aware of reality. I really hope I continue to stay this way! I tend to stress very less because of that and focus on things that are important. Cynics amuse me (not in a bad way) as do people who take everything personally…
Great comments here on this post!

Maya´s last blog post..The One Hundred: A Guide to Pieces Every Happy and Balanced Soul Must Embrace: Simplicity


Jenny Mannion January 29, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Hi Lance,
Wow! What a great group you’ve got here! JA — Ok time for us to go easy on ourselves and remind ourselves how much we DO get accomplished and enjoy the ride! Deal?! 😉 Henie – my pleasure – BOY do I love THAT quote. It sits on the wall in front of my desk but I think maybe it’s time to move it closer to my monitor so I am AWARE it is there more often! 😉
Thank you Lance! I am doing much MUCH better and your post DEFINITELY helped me this week!
Love, Jenny

Jenny Mannion´s last blog post..Interview with James Sinclair, Director of “What If?” Part II


Dot January 29, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I first thought of a merry-go-round, so between that and the video I had to readjust my perceptions that this was a serious article. 🙂

@Patricia – “The poo is the path?”

Dot´s last blog post..About Your Business


Jamie Simmerman January 29, 2009 at 2:15 pm

My kids love to spin in circles, it makes me want to throw up. 🙂

Perception and attitude really are a great indicator of our level of contentment. I always try to look at the big picture when life gets too overwhelming. Most often I find that those millions of little things that upset me are truly insignificant. Thanks for the reminder. :0

Jamie Simmerman´s last blog post..Change is Good


Evita January 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Profound Lance!

You hit on two important messages here:
1) the idea of going around in circles as adults – so many do get caught in a never ending, snow-balling effect of disempowerment.
And until they change their thinking, they cannot get out of this rut.

Which brings us to 2) Changing your thinking changes everything!!!!

I love how you compared the two examples of how we perceive depending on the situation, now let us take this and yes, apply it to everything in our life. It always comes down to perception. Wow Lance this is such an amazing message to keep teaching and just reminding people about.

Why are some situations hard and others easy? Simply because of how we perceive them. Take this economy for example, some believe it is the worst thing in the world, while others see great new opportunities. It still the same situation, so what changed – one’s perception of it.

Evita´s last blog post..Movie Review: Wheel of Life


Liara Covert January 29, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Lance, I was getting nostalgic about bumper cars and reflecting on the analogy of bumping into evolving awareness. In fact, many people have the impression they stumble on it when it is a conscious and deliberate decision to go around in circles long enough to get the point of the exercise. Next, people create a new exercise to remind themselves of another point. Its another kind of circle; not a vicious one but rather, but a welcomed one instead.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..5 Tips to root yourself in the moment


Henie January 30, 2009 at 1:44 am

Just one word:


That was fun!!!! 🙂

Henie´s last blog post..Friday Focus


Lance January 30, 2009 at 4:41 am

@Mimi – Hi Mimi. You bring up an excellent point about creating intention. If we actively choose our mindset, then we have the power of setting ourselves up for success. You’ve shared a really great example of how just changing our mindset really can have a positive impact for us. And probably a more positive impact for those we encounter as well. Thank you Mimi, for sharing this.

@Henie – I’m glad you’re here Henie, thank you for your many contributions, and for always making time to come back and revisit also. You are a wonderful supporter of the Jungle!

@Maya – Hi Maya. Positive percetpions really do go a long way toward how we see reality. It’s a great lens to look through, Maya. Thanks for stopping by!

@Jenny Mannion – Okay, JM and JA — that’s a deal you SHOULD take! You two do accomplish very much – I am always awlays imporessed with both of you! And, it’s really great to hear this post helped you this week. I find your words this morning to be very satisfying to my soul.

@Dot – Ha! Yes, you did well then adjusting your perceptions for the article!

@Jamie Simmerman – I used to love the spinning rides at amusement parks. Now…I want to throw up too! Reminds me of the time we went to one of these, and we were on the Tilt A Whirl. The park was pretty quiet that day since the weather was nasty. so, the worker thought he’d be nice to us and give us an extra long ride. Ugh. I felt sick the rest of the morning!! Looking at the big picture – great point Jamie. When it can become very easy to get all caught up in the small details – we do – and neglect the bigger picture. However if we can shift our focus to what’s bigger – there we really are hleping to shift our perceptions also. Thanks Jamie!

@Evita – I love your example of the economy. It’s so easy to look at this and see only the bad. Just last night on the local news – most of the airtime was dedicated to how many people are losing their jobs. New companies having layoffs. And I felt myself and my perception changing – and not for the good. I had to finally just get up and leave. Which shows just how much the media can affect our perceptions. So, do you wonder why “everyone” seems to think the economy is so bad? Our thinking has been changed by the media, or by people we know relaying this “bad” news – thus causing our perceptions to take a nosedive. Evita, as always, you’ve given the subject much food for thought. Thank you for this.

@Liara – Bumping into awareness. I like that! Sometimes that’s what it takes – us getting out there and just becoming more aware. And that can change our perception as we “bump” into that awareness. Thank you Liara!

@Henie – Somebody’s having fun on the merry-go-round!!!!!


Miz January 30, 2009 at 5:50 am

(stop by today if you are in the hood. shout out to you but more see that others already did!)

Miz´s last blog post..Let Go Let…BLOG? (Oprah? You listening?)


Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com January 30, 2009 at 6:16 am

There are some situation you just cannot put positive spin on it. You just cannot. What I do is avoid it, forget it. It is much easier and “cheaper” to me to move than analyze it spending my precious energy on it.

Alik Levin | PracticeThis.com´s last blog post..Program Yourself For Extremely Fast Performance


Mark Salinas January 30, 2009 at 8:30 am

Have a fantastic weekend! You deserve it!


suddenly slimmer January 30, 2009 at 9:06 am

another quote : you can change your life but you can change your perception about life. Another important lesson in our journey.

suddenly slimmer´s last blog post..Common Faux Pas When You Exercise


SpaceAgeSage -- Lori January 30, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Sometimes my going round and round feels more like a walk on a Möbius strip — http://tinyurl.com/8bbgw.


Lance January 31, 2009 at 6:46 am

@Miz – Very cool stuff you have going on over at your site (as always)!! Much love on this one – from all over!!

@Alik – Well, that’s another good point. Sometimes, we just can’t change perspective – and that’s okay, as long as we can move on.

@Mark Salinas – You too, my friend!

@Suddenly Slimmer – Hi Alia! We CAN change our perception – thanks for sharing that!

@Lori – Good point! It’s like we’re going in circle, and spinning in other directions also. And how does that affect our perspective? Interesting thought Lori, thanks!


LisaNewton January 31, 2009 at 7:00 am

I’ve been going round in circles for a while now, but within the last few weeks, I feel like a new perspective is here. I’m starting to look at things more positively, thus, jumping off the circle every now and then.

You’re so right, Lance. A positive perspective does work wonders…………:)

LisaNewton´s last blog post..Graffiti is Art


avtcoach January 31, 2009 at 11:51 am

You example of how we hold on to our own perceptions is such a good one. Where I find the challenge is when I don’t even have a clue that there would be another perception. In your example of the class lecture, you at least know there are other types of teaching style possiblities and maybe because you were actually experiencing a change it opened the door to a different possiblity. Unfortunately, don’t perceptions by definition mean we are thinking only about ourselves. That is our nature. Where I find the challenge is in situations where I have not a clue how to think differently. I usually have to bounce it off of someone else for them to tell me..what about…or what if.. or maybe…When I am spinning round and round (I get vertigo easily!:)) I find it helps to have a chat with someone else to see how offbase I am! Great thought for this day!
I also loved you acrostic on COURAGE at Peggy’s. Thanks for playing along!

avtcoach´s last blog post..Reflecting On Our WORDS


Christine | Communicate Value January 31, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I love the topic of this post. Lately I’ve been fascinated thinking about how certain perceptions I’ve held in my past have been utterly false and/or I’ve been looking at them in an unnecessarily negative way. I am not sure if these realizations are coming now as a result of the personal development-type reading I’ve been doing or just from getting older and wiser. 🙂 But I’m enjoying the enlightenment!

Christine | Communicate Value´s last blog post..How Can Twitter Benefit Me as a Small Business Owner?


Lance February 1, 2009 at 3:24 am

@LisaNewton – Good for you Lisa! A new perspective can be just what is needed!!

@Avtcoach – That’s an excellent point Avtcoach. Sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know. So our perceptions are limited to what we know – until we can see this something differently – maybe through experience, or maybe through others. And maybe that avoids some of the vertigo!!! Thanks much for this thought. And COURAGE…you’re helping for me to keep this word in my forefront – so thank you for that also!!

@Christine – Looking back, it’s interesting to look at how we used to perceive things. And how off-base that was. Hey, I think that does show we are growing, learning, becoming more aware. Whether that’s from just being more aware, or from the studying we’ve done – the fact that we’re moving in positive directions is what is pretty awesome. Here’s to enlightenment!! I love that thought Christine!


Robin Easton February 1, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Dear Lace, this is such an astounding insight very clearly expressed by you through this training day you went through. The implications of what you speak of here are extremely far reaching. This same principle could be applied to racism, sexism, religious deputes, etc. We humans move through the world buried under our perceptions.

This really made me think. Although I am an extremely open person I still have certain preconceived notions arise in certain situations. Usually only situation similar to what you describe here. My sweetheart was just called for jury duty and had to attend an afternoon session where they educate on judicial procedures. I immediately got wigged out thinking. “Oh dear, am I going to have to go through 4 hours of this at some point? I hate this sort of things, blan blah blah.” Then this morning I heard a voice in my head say, Robin you are just going to have shift your perception or at least not go into it with a preset notion of what it’s going to be like (IF, IF, IF I even am called in at all). I am going to remember this post…I just know it…and I will draw on it in future situations like this.

While reading this post I also thought about children who, more often than not, have no preconceived notion of what something is going to be like. So they tend to stay only in the present moment. I am this way with most things, but occasionally something like what you describe here will arise.

Thank you for being such a clear thinking and honest voice. Just wonderful Lance. I love how you see right to the heart of the matter on these core issues. Very exciting. I revel in it.

As always sending you a big hug and lots of respect for the person you are choosing to be. Very amazing to see. Robin

Robin Easton´s last blog post..“Spy VS Spy”


Robin Easton February 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Sorry I left the N out of LANCE!!! 🙂 LOL.
It’s your new name LACE!!! LOLOL!!

Robin Easton´s last blog post..“Spy VS Spy”


Dayflyer February 5, 2009 at 5:07 am

Changing your own perception is important, but when you’re talking with other people it’s vital to check it out, rather than assume your changed point of view reflects their situation. Going round in circles might mean fun for one child, but dizzy and disoriented for another. The same words can have different meanings and if you assume your meaning is the one being used by other people you could be wrong.

Asking is the only solution ‘what does that mean for you?’ is a good way of making sure that, even though you have different realities, you’re sharing words you both agree the meaning of to describe them.

I agree with Robin that children are much better at avoiding preconceptions, living in, and accepting the moment – and quickly getting over their disappointments and moving on. This is a part of childhood I’d love to be able to access more frequently.


Cricket February 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Ah, the lesson from our children is so wonderful. About a year ago I decided to take lessons from them each day. I live more in the moment than ever. Life has gone full circle for me. I was there…went half way around and almost got lost…I then continued back to the beginning which was me waiting there all along.

Life is all about how we look at it. A perception.

Cricket´s last blog post..Frosty the Snowman continues


Lance February 8, 2009 at 4:26 am

@Robin Easton – Thank you, Robin, for giving this so much thought – I am always very appreciative of your thoughtful replies. Always. The idea of this being applied in so many areas – is such a great thought – sexism, racism, etc. Wow! You’re making me look at perception at a very deep level (thank you!). Your example of jury duty, too, is a great one – and how we can perceive something to be bad even before we’ve been through it. Thanks so much for your continued insight here Robin! And…you’re giving me a new name! I wonder what my perception of that will be!!

@Dayflyer – That’s exactly the message I’m looking to get across, so thank you for seeing it as such. What one person sees as dizzy, or maybe confusing (going around in circles) – another sees as fun! Children really do so well with this – they don’t have all the baggage we have acquired that leads to our perceptions – they just “do”! And that’s a great way to look at life! Thanks so much for stopping by!

@Cricket – Good for you, Tammy – on living more in the moment! And I’m so glad you continued back to the beginning – to where you are today. You are a blessing – and not only for your children – you touch lives every day – including mine.


Jenny February 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Brett! You have hit the preverbial nail on the head for me! When things around me get too stressful I do feel like I am going around in circles. Also when the depression tries to take over I feel like I’m in a tornado I can’t get out of. Both of these circles are usually caused by my over reacting or making mountains out of mole hills. I’m slowly learning how to change those perceptions in my head that get me down. It’s a process but sometimes a very slow one!

Jenny´s last blog post..Not My Omega


Lance February 18, 2009 at 4:39 am

Hi Jenny. Yep. I’ve felt like that too. Going around in circles – getting nowhere – and feeling stuck. Yet – be changing our perception – we can change how we’re looking at these circles. And that can be freeing. And you’re right – it is a process that can be slow at times. Keep at it Jenny…


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