I have been thinking a great deal about perspective lately. Suffice it to say that 2011 hasn’t been overly kind to me (or my 90 year-old house, for that matter) and I’ve often been forced to remind myself that it can always be worse.
I recently wrote a post about confidence and how quickly and easily it can be enhanced by the littlest of gestures from others. Confidence is often impacted greatly by perspective. Sometimes a person can alter their outlook and perspective by reframing things. That is, of course, easier said than done. Many people often can’t see the forest for the trees. A personal example:
Anyone that’s ever played sports has probably had an experience where they were watching from the sidelines wondering why teammates they considered less talented than themselves played in the game. Having spent my entire Freshman year of college as the basketball team’s human victory cigar (I was only inserted into the game when the outcome was no longer in doubt) I had plenty of time to contemplate such things from the end of the bench. Of course, anyone with even a modicum of self-awareness eventually questions the objectivity (and accuracy) of their assessment. Had I thought about even further, I would have come to the realization that leapfrogging a few teammates on the depth chart would only result in me shifting a few seats to my right. In addition, the last couple people to be cut from the team undoubtedly felt as though they were more deserving of my spot than I was. In hindsight I wish I had been more focused on how fortunate I was to have the opportunity to be playing college basketball, albeit at a small, liberal arts college where fellow students were often unaware that we even had a team.
It can be equally disheartening looking in from the outside in a professional capacity. Being unemployed and looking for a job (as I currently am) can lead to feelings of jealousy and resentment. It’s easy to fall victim to those emotions by focusing on the jobs held or secured by others that you deem less deserving than yourself. I’d be lying if I said I don’t occasionally find myself singing “put me in, coach-I’m ready to play today,” (a lyric from John Fogerty’s classic song, Centerfield) in my head.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot in life that can’t be controlled. I’m trying my best to face life’s challenges head-on, take the difficulties in stride and focus on improving things as best I can. This week I was reminded that sometimes the best surprises arrive when you least expect them.
On Monday, I received an email from the folks at WordPress.com letting me know that my post on confidence had been selected to be featured in the “Freshly Pressed” section on their homepage (see image below).
You can click here to see a post from the WordPress team explaining Freshly Pressed and how they make their selections. Saying (as they do in the post) that “getting promoted to Freshly Pressed is a major traffic win” is a serious understatement. Without going into too much detail, I’ll simply state that the number of page views resulting from this publicity in a two day period comprises roughly 50% of the total numbers I have accumulated year-to-date.
What was even more rewarding was the outpouring of support and positive feedback I received from bloggers around the world, many of whom described experiencing similar struggles with confidence in their blogging. Needless to say, this provided me with an enormous boost in confidence in regards to my blogging. This is due, in large part, to a shift in perspective.
The coach had summoned me from the bench and inserted me into the game (with a packed arena, no less). I had some initial trepidation about so many people reading my post. For better or worse, I often feel as though I’m blogging for family members and friends, with the occasional colleague or social media connection sprinkled in. All that has changed now. While I realize I won’t continue to receive such huge numbers of page views for future posts, I learned something important. It turns out that my writing can sometimes appeal to a broader audience than my circle of friends and family and some it even resonated with them.
My coach used to remind those of us at the end of the bench that it was important to prepare physically and mentally for each game as though we’d be playing a significant number of minutes because you never know when your number will be called. This whole experience has served as a reminder that the same lesson can be applied to other endeavors. Think you’re just publishing posts for yourself and your family (as I have in the past)? From this day forward, let’s write each post as though it’s going to be featured by WordPress and read by thousands of people. I think we’ll find that our writing will be better served by it.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the WordPress.com team for featuring my post and even more so to the kind souls who took the time to share their thoughts and experiences with me via comments, tweets and emails. As an aside, I can think of few titles cooler than the one belonging to the WordPress staffer who emailed me. According to her email signature, she’s a “Story Wrangler.” Sounds like an awesome gig.
Have you had an experience recently that’s changed your perspective or outlook on something? Please share it with me below in the comments.