Jan. 19 – Perception is everything.

“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Perception is everything. Marcus clearly calls our attention to this fact by guiding us to the acknowledgment that we hold in our power the ability to discern between what is our merely our own judgment and what is simply an event in our lives.

Don’t underestimate the power of your own judgement on not only your personal performance but also on the people around you. When we make mental judgments we are effectively framing our situations and that can be limiting to how we and others interact with the situations we encounter.

Think about how we react when we receive unexpected and potentially damaging news at work. If we react to that news with a judgement call—a negative mindset—we risk framing the situation and limiting our ability to see anything other than the negative repercussions we expect.

It may be true that the news you received could have immediate negative impacts to your organization. However, it’s also possible that there are just as many unseen opportunities for innovation that could create additional value from the same news. If we approach unexpected news in general as negative, we risk limiting our ability to perceive anything but the disasters we anticipate.

Don’t let this happen to you. Bad news is just news. Use it. Review it. See it for what it is—just a change in your environment and an opportunity to take a different path.

Jan. 10 – We all have limits.

“Hippocrates, after curing many diseases, himself fell sick and died.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

It’s important to remember that we all have limits. At some point we’re going to hit that point and that’s okay. The challenge is approaching that limit with both wisdom and grace.

Time seems to be the most pressing limit we face in this life. When we’re young we can’t wait for the future to arrive so we can change the world. When we’re older we would do anything to slow down, but we’re caught in a current that never ceases, and the best we can hope to achieve is to swim well and bravely while we still can.

We all have an expiration date. As we age, we can become more keenly aware of it. That doesn’t mean we give up. Time is an amazing gift, and it allows us to put everything into perspective. If we have to say goodbye tomorrow, then how do you feel about the day you just lived?

Did you share love or spread gossip?

Did you help a stranger or buy yourself a latte?

Did you make the world a better a place today? Did you even try?

Perspective can keep us both honest and focused on something other than ourselves. Accept that gift and use it to change the world—build bridges, tear down walls, heal the sick, feed the hungry, fix the broken—the point is you could have made a difference today. So, what are you going to do differently tomorrow?