Is Your Perspective Your Passport or Your Prison?

Written by: Zach Gale
February 2021

Stop… Take a step back and think… which word grabs your attention first: love or hate, we or me, positive or negative, gratitude or complaints? I promise you that one word will act as your passport and take you to places you have never been before, and the other word will become your prison and keep you confined into a mindset or perspective that has no growth insight.  

               Inky Johnson and Steven Futrick said it best, “Your perspective can either become your passport or your prison.” The reality is this… our minds are powerful beyond measure, so when we view situations with anger, fear, or even negativity we are allowing our perspective to be clouded by thoughts that won’t better ourselves. I believe our perspective may be one of the most important tools we have as humans. The way we view situations will dictate how we respond to it. And the way we respond to it will dictate how we serve and impact the people around us. When we view life with a negative lens, it does nothing for us or for the people around us. We saw in 2020 how our perspective during adversity can either build us or break us. If we decide to fall victim to our circumstances then we are allowing life to stop us from reaching our fullest potential. Life will try to tell us to stop, but we must allow the power of our perspective to push us to see the opportunity to grow and to find the hidden blessings in every struggle. 

               I believe as a teacher in an elementary school setting, we see the power of perspective every single day in both our students and coworkers. The way we view a school day, a lesson, or a student's behavior will dictate our performance during that situation. Even in my own life I have seen and reflected back upon how my perspective has been my prison. Back when I was in high school I viewed every situation with a negative "what if?" Then that negative "what if" turned into anxiety that I felt like I couldn't control. I would despise class speeches because I would turn red, talk fast, and  sweat. I allowed the judgements of other people to dictate the perspective I had on that current situation. When I was able to eventually turn my perspective into a positive view of the world, that is when I saw my anxiety start to disappear. Instead of attaching my purpose and mission to the judgments of others, I attached my purpose and mission to service, positivity, my faith, my family, and my friends. The exact people who allowed me to rent the belief they had in me that I didn’t have in myself. Now when adversity hits, my perspective allows me to ask life "what are you trying to teach me?", instead of "why me?" The way we view our situation will impact the way we react to it. Inky Johnson has coined the phrase, "your perspective drives your performance every day of the week. The way you view what you do will always affect how you do what you do." Adversity, struggle, and pain will only break you if you view it as a negative. Sometimes in our life we must stop focusing on what we have lost, and start focusing on what you have gained through adversity.

               This idea of our perspective becoming our prison is implying that our perspective can and will confine us to negative, angry thoughts that will do nothing for us besides keep us stagnant in this process we call life. Now switch that word to passport. The only difference is the letters that come after. The idea of our perspective becoming our passport is signifying that our perspective can and will lead us to view life with a lens of gratitude and positivity. This perspective will allow us to see every situation as an opportunity to grow and help others grow. 

               So now I challenge you to not allow your perspective to be a light switch perspective. Don't turn it on and off when you want to, or when things are going good or bad. Allow your perspective to be your passport into a life full of gratitude and positivity. Whether you believe it or not, your perspective does not only affect you... it affects each individual around you. I want to leave you with this: every situation you are placed into, always remember there are two options. You can be grateful and grow or stay complacent and complain. How you view the situation will dictate the path you take. And guess what? The determining factor in this situation is you.

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