In 2009 I moved from the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah to the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. It was Christmas week when we pulled up to our new home with the moving truck behind us. It was a sunny 70 degree day, and we were all sporting tank tops and flip flops since we had just come from the snow.
The curious neighbors came out of their homes one at a time to see who these odd new people were. Families slowly came to greet us, women bundled up in designer fur coats, children wearing mittens, and men with scarves. I was baffled that it was cold to them. Then I realized that these people were the ones who had likely grown up in that type of climate. Over the next week I discovered the local outdoor pool, it was open early in the morning for lap swimmers, at that was something I enjoyed at the time.
So there I was, sitting on the edge of the pool after my swim. One of the lifeguards sitting nearby began to question me on how I was not freezing. They were bundled up in layers, and sipping on some hot chocolate. I told her I was new to town and this was warm weather to me. Things like this happened all winter! Locals thought I was crazy for dressing in summer clothes, I thought they were crazy for bundling up. I would listen to them complain about the cold, and I honestly started getting fed up with their complaints.
After all, they didn’t even know what cold was! My reality was different from theirs. To me, 70 degrees was warm, to them it was cold. The temperate was the same for all of us, but our perception based on our experiences were different. I made a conscious decision to never ever complain about the temperature as long as I lived there. Even as I began to adapt, I would ignore the feeling of being cold because I didn’t want to give into the misery of those around me.
We all have things in our lives that we complain about. I might complain about my car making a funny noise, but to someone else, it would be a blessing just to have a car. One mans misery, is another’s paradise. So my question for you is this, how can you change your perception of something to make your life more enjoyable and meaningful?
Perhaps you perceive exercise to be punishment, eating vegetables to be bland, or sticking to a routine to be the equivalent of living in shackles. This is not a perception that will change overnight. It takes a lot of work, positive conditioning, and helpful guidance to change a mindset.
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