Ah, the wonderful art of zooming. Magical, really. Do you find yourself incredibly flustered? Even angry? Find some detail so engrossing you lose track of your objectives? Of all the skills on managing the mind that I have learned and developed for myself, this one may be the most powerful.
Enough sales pitch – try it.
Let’s imagine that there is a distance between you and what you are focusing on. That distance has two factors – how emotionally engaged you are and how much of your view it consumes. These factors are highly correlated. When we are upset or flustered, we are using a microscope to look in at an issue…we don’t see much context to it, and we may even be so zoomed in that we can’t see the whole thing, but only a portion of it. No wonder we can’t wrap our heads and energy around it to take effective action! We zoom in and our heart and emotion gets tangled up in our perception – we are emotional around what is huge and vibrant to us.
I hereby empower you to use an adjustable zooming tool. Take it with you where ever you go. So lightweight you can take it anywhere. Alright, I am being silly…but really, you can manage your interaction with the world and with others by adjusting how close or how far away you want something to be in your perception.
Let me give you an example: Terry is looking over finances and sees how the income and expenses are converging (and maybe that credit card statement shows a distinctly negative balance). Terry gets frustrated. The inner dialog sounds something like, “I am trying so hard, and yet I am falling behind on my plans. I am never going to be able to afford my dreams at this rate. What am I doing wrong?” and maybe Terry has a wide enough lens to see what friends appear to have, and the inner dialog continues, “Sam seems to get by on a similar salary and have better things…where did I mess up?” And most of us like to play a blame game, so add in for good measure, “If my boss would just acknowledge how hard I work, I would get that raise. Then this wouldn’t be a problem.” This sort of conversation happens in people whose income is far beyond the poverty level. Really.
Yeah, so that last statement was part of zooming. What sort of view can be included in the perspective that hits a reset button? Zoom out, and see some context. Take a flight up to 30,000 feet and view where you stand in relation to the rest of humanity (are you living on $2 a day?) and then farther out through time….throughout human history… If that doesn’t help you see how incredibly lucky you are to be where you are with this tiny issue around cash flow, then zoom farther out in the vast reaches of space – the mere fact that you even exist on this tiny planet just the right distance from the sun with just the right ingredients for life…and a strange twist of arching fate led to human evolution and here you are. A gazillion of miracles converging to make it possible for you to be here right now.
You don’t always have to back that far up. You are the author of your own stories. What is the context you want that story to be in? Zoom in or out to choose a story that works for you. Choose what you include in your field of vision and perception.
Warning: zooming does not absolve you of responsibilities, it simply mitigates your attachment. Thus you can be clearer about prioritizing and taking action on your responsibilities and opportunities.