Until the 1500s, as far as we knew, the sun revolved around the Earth. Although Copernicus challenged this view, it wasn’t until Galileo’s refinement and use of the telescope that we collectively realized how wrong we had been: The sun didn’t revolve around the Earth; the Earth revolved around the sun!
Along with this shift in scientific perspective came a social shift away from an egocentric point of view. With the right lens, our entire view of the universe and our position in it radically changed.
The same revelations were achieved through microscopes. From the complexities of DNA patterns to cellular division, microscopes have helped us recognize the very foundation of our humanity. Seemingly basic things such as a drop of water can be transformed into a million distinct particles—if we have the right lens.
Adjusting the Lens
In life, we have our own set of lenses. We see the “big picture” through our macro lens, which we use when taking into consideration our long-term plans. In the day-to-day, we intuitively apply our micro lens, focusing on the details of daily life, such as dry cleaning, school activities, work functions, etc.
Like scientific lenses, which can be calibrated, our own personal macro and micro lenses can be calibrated as well: through our emotions.
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Are you using your macro lens calibrated with hope or with despair? Are you applying your micro lens with love or with aggression? Depending on how you calibrate, the same situation can look very different. Through a lens of compassion, a crying child is someone to console. Through a lens of aggression, a crying child is a nagging annoyance. On the macro side, through a lens of hope, getting laid off and starting one’s own business is seen as an opportunity for unlimited growth and success. Through a lens of despair, losing one’s job is the end of the world.
Analyzing the Data
Just as Galileo and Copernicus shattered traditional, long-accepted notions about the universe because they had the right lenses, we, too, can transform our experiences by shifting how we see the world. I have oftentimes had to combine both my micro and macro lenses, as difficult as it is to do, in an effort to put some things into perspective and determine a new plan of direction.
Despite the demanding nature of our daily routines, we can hone our perspective and live life in a manner that makes sense in both the short and long term. We can all calibrate our macro and micro lenses by assessing our immediate needs and our long-term goals, combined with our current levels of hope, love, compassion, positivity, and/or levels of negativity and apathy.
If we have a stronger emotion for negativity in how we are looking at our tasks and goals, then we can shift the lens a bit by adding more positivity into our thoughts. Reanalyzing our attitude when approaching both the micro tasks of daily life and the macro goals can help us transform not just how we see the world, but also the world itself.
Goal: To find more balance in daily life by analyzing and shifting perspective.
• Before you end your day, create a to-do list that has two columns: daily goals and monthly goals
• List smaller, daily tasks that you hope to achieve the next day (micro lens items)
• Next, list monthly goals you have in mind (macro lens items)
• Although your daily goals will change constantly, having your monthly goals present on the list helps in evaluating the impact of accomplishing the small tasks that prove you are moving towards achieving the big picture goals.
• When you achieve a monthly goal, reward yourself—whether it be watching an hour of TV, indulging in a delicious dessert, a massage, a day by the beach, or a celebratory dinner. Setting goals and celebrating achievements are both ways to calibrate your life lenses with optimism and positivity.
Lisa Cypers Kamen, MA, is the founder of Harvesting Happiness and executive director of Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™. In addition, she is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor, and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.
*Image courtesy of Amanda Tipton.February 9, 2014