Viewpoint

Viewpoint

Hello, Rebels, and welcome back to my life.

Sometime over the weekend I passed five hundred Twitter followers. If you’re one of them, you’re awesome. If you’re not, here’s my Twitter.

Some of you are like, “Five hundred? That’s not impressive.” WELL IT’S IMPRESSIVE TO ME. And that’s actually what I want to talk to you about today: viewpoint.

What is viewpoint? Well, viewpoint is two things, one of them externally controlled and one of them internally controlled.

The externally controlled viewpoint is literally the point from which you are viewing: it’s what you can see from where you are. If you’re on top of a mountain, the world looks like a big place from your viewpoint. If you’re at the bottom of a well, the world looks small and terrifying.

However there is also your internally controlled viewpoint, and that’s how you think about what you see—and it’s also how you think about WHAT you think. What the hell does that mean? Well, humans have this incredible ability to interpret the same data different ways. Our minds do it to run through different potential scenarios and see which one we think will work best.

Like a quarterback deciding which way he should run or throw the ball, or a writer wondering what character’s perspective to write from, we can run whole scenarios through our minds by loading in a few factors that will guide our thinking while imagining the solution.

But this thinking can become permanent in our minds as well. We can elect to set our own preconceived notions, or they can be sort of rammed into place by the outside world. This can be good or bad, but usually when you choose your own viewpoint on life, it tends to be a good thing. When your viewpoint on life is rammed down your throat, it’s usually a bad thing.

For example, a lot of people go through life thinking, “You’re responsible for your own condition,” but can mean different things from different viewpoints. Some people take it to mean, “You’re to blame for everything that’s wrong with your life, and if you’re not successful, you’re not working hard enough!” Whereas I think what that means is that you can do anything you want with your life given enough time, and you can always take steps to make things a little bit better every day.

See how those viewpoints differ? The first one is looking at the past and assigning blame. The other one is looking at the present and the future and saying, “You can do anything!”

Same datum. Different viewpoints. One probably successful, one probably not.

But success itself is also a viewpoint. That’s why rich, entitled people can say, “Oh, but my life is so hard,” and I can be riding a thin financial line and say, “I love my life, I’m so successful!”

Other people can look from their viewpoint and say, “Successful? You’re not even a millionaire.” And then they go back to their 9-to-5 jobs, wishing they were writing books and making movies for a living. Which is what I do.

Now, of course, even everything I’m saying right now is a viewpoint, and your own viewpoint, or your own situation in life might not allow you to believe it or see how it applies to you. But let me just say…even if you just WANT to believe that this is true…give it a shot.

Yes, terrible things happen in life sometimes, and we can live in bad, underprivileged or oppressed situations. But the only thing we’re always in control of is how we TRY to see the world.

And if you say, “Changing how you think about the world isn’t as good as DOING something to improve your life!”

I’d answer with, “If you don’t change how you think about your life, how could you ever think you could do something to improve it?”

All right, enough deep thoughts for the day, Rebels. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about “Who and “Whom.” Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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