THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN Politics of Perspective
By Jessica Sitomer
Eddie Murphy plays a Florida con man who cons his way into Congress. Initially he enjoys the benefits of his position, accepting generous donations and campaign contributions. But when he is double-crossed, the Congressman finally sees how the greed and corruption make it near impossible to address necessary reform and change. So he fights back!
All it took Congressman, Jeff Johnson, was a shift in perspective. Now granted, he had to be double-crossed to make that shift, but why should something bad have to happen to get a fresh perspective on things?
Here are some of the perspectives that have been shared with me lately:
The economy is so bad, the entertainment industry may never recover and I may never work again.
I watch the news everyday and I don’t think we’ll see things get better for at least another decade!
What is the point of trying to change things? We have no power in this country.
The irony of that last statement was that’s exactly how I felt after I watched The Distinguished Gentleman 20 years ago. Maybe certain perspectives will always be “in the air.” I don’t know. What I do know is that we have the power to control what perspectives we choose to focus on. I also know that that focus has a great deal to do with our success, or lack of.
Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your perspective:
1. What are the general statements you make about your career possibilities, the state of the world, and the people in your life?
2. Are these statements empowering or concerning?
3. If they are empowering, you’re in great shape! Keep it up. If they are concerning, how is it helping you to stay focused on your concerning statements? Are they pushing you to act in a positive way? Or are they keeping you stuck, frustrated, and fearful?
If you know you’re in need of a better perspective, read on
To change your perspective can be a tiny or a great big shift. It can be as simple as sitting in a different seat at your dinner table or as challenging as believing you deserve success even when others are struggling around you.
Before you focus on changing your perspective, take an accurate inventory about how you’re feeling right now:
Are you scared about your future? Are you frustrated with your career? Do you feel let down by work associates? Do you struggle with not living up to the expectations you had for yourself? Is your money situation causing you stress? Do you feel alone or unsupported by those around you? Do you ever feel helpless or just want to give up, but don’t know what else you’d do? Do you ever feel like nothing in your life is as it should be?
You may need to take a few deep breaths after that. I sure do! It’s no fun to focus on those questions. How about these:
Who is the one person (or animal) in your life you can always count on to make you smile? What have you done or can you start doing to feel proactive about a stable future? What do you love about your job that keeps you pursuing it? What fuels your passion outside of work?
Now for the “what ifs”:
What if the economy turns around in the next two years and work becomes abundant? What if you’re getting so many job offers, you’re turning work away? What if you paid off all of your debt and had enough left over to feel secure for the rest of your life? What if you met great people who always made you feel welcome and cared about? What if everything in your life fell into place; you are healthy, fulfilled at work, fulfilled in your personal life, making an abundance of money, giving back, having fun, feeling loved?
The challenging part of changing your perspective is recognizing that the “what ifs” are just as made up as your “worries.” In fact, in most instances, worries never come to be, and things tend to work out for the best.
Now the decision is yours to make: Do you want to worry about your future? Or do you want to focus on the “what ifs” and in doing so, motivating yourself to make those “what ifs” turn into actuality?
1. For every concern you have, create a “what it” that you prefer for your future.
2. For every “what if” you create, design a strategy plan for working toward seeing it through to fruition.
Yes, Congressman, Jeff Johnson’s strategy plan for his “what if” was a con, but it worked (and it was a movie). You can pursue your “what if” perspective in real life, with integrity and passion.