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When you get a chance, take a fresh look at something that you think you know well. It might be a place, an opinion, a person or an object. Anything.

Get down on your knees, up high, close up or far back. Take a position that forces you to see something in a way you have not seen it before. Really do it, don’t just pretend.

Spend some time on it. Allow yourself to be still and consider your chosen subject with the eyes of someone who has not seen it before. The better you ‘know’ know your subject the more likely you are to be missing things. When we know something well – or think we do from force of habit – we tend to ‘see’ our image of it and our preconceptions, rather than what is actually there.

The antidote to this is, as the Zen people would say, is to adopt a beginner’s mind. This means getting in touch with our humility and assuming an attitude of curiosity and openness. Being prepared to learn something new, even when we already know there is everything there is to know, can be revealing and instructive.

 

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If you tend towards a pessimistic outlook, how about learning selective optimism? That way you can get the benefits and still be true to your negativity.

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