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Shifting Perspectives

Shifting perspectives

Shifting perspectives, Olivier de Brivezac & Emmanuel Comte, 2007

The present book may be likened to a Zen anecdote: the real problem lies not in your life, but in the way you perceive it. Just change your point of view. Of course, that is much easier said than done, for the majority of our troubles stem from the fact that we have not yet learned to accurately gauge our circumstances and acquaintances…

The propensity to perceive people and events negatively lies at the source of many of our most difficult interpersonal problems, leading to untold amounts of stress, aggravation, and resentment. While universally recognized as highly undesirable and destructive, we are often oblivious to and passively influenced by the constant flow of our negative thoughts. At the same time, the vast majority of people tend to underestimate the severity of this shortcoming, particularly the extent to which they are prone to it themselves. How, then, can we reeducate our thoughts to induce a positive change in our perception?

Shifting Perspectives identifies the range of symptoms that defines a negative outlook and the diverse forms in which it manifests, eroding the foundations of our lives and relationships. Analogizing the mechanisms of our perception to the process of focusing in photography, in which we find the right perspective, adjust our field of vision, and frame the subject, the authors methodically demonstrate that acquiring a positive and accurate perspective is not only a skill that can be learned and honed like any other, but also an essential disposition, the basso continuo that accompanies the whole polyphonic composition of ethical practice.

Read an excerpt

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