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
View all posts by Lance Ekum

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