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How to Get Out of a Mental Rut Today

I've been experimenting with a new way of looking at the world. And it's been working well for me. It
How to Get Out of a Mental Rut Today
I’ve been experimenting with a new way of looking at the world.
And it’s been working well for me.
It’s something that most people don’t do.
At least, I haven’t heard many people bring up this approach.
But it’s given me a lot of new insights, so I’m excited to share it with you.

The Origins of a Mental Rut
When I was young, I was taught to look people in the eyes when talking. It’s just what you do.
When playing sports, I was taught to keep my eye on the ball. You don’t want to miss anything.
This is typically how it goes. Focus on the action so you don’t miss the action.
This works in most situations. It’s a safe bet.
But is it always the way to go?
The Problem With Always Focusing on the Center
There are issues that come from only focusing in the middle. Or looking at the eyes. Or staring at the ball. Or centering yourself in the action.
To start, the center is not the only place where interesting things happen. What about the fringes? The fringes are often where new ideas start. Revolutions typically start with fringe events. We’re seeing that right now. A horrific action that people wouldn’t normally see sparks a movement.
Second, the center is what everyone else is always looking at. You’re supposed to look at the center. You’re expected to go about it the normal way. But doing so prevents you from finding the mysteries outside of the lines.
Take my dad, for instance. He was a basketball coach for a girls’ varsity basketball team for decades. When I went to his games as a child, I would often watch him more than I watched the players. He took actions, called plays, and made movements that affected the course of the game. It wasn’t just the players. He was outside the lines, but he was very clearly inside the game.
Follow the lines. Or not?
Follow the lines. Or not?
Applying a New Approach to Your Life
By now, you might be wondering how to take advantage of this approach. Here are a few things you can try today to start seeing a new side of life.
Look at the Corner of the Picture
When you look at a picture–or a painting or whatever square-like object with images in it–don’t just look at the center. Stare at the corners. Find something you wouldn’t normally see. And don’t just glance at it–really stare intently. Why was the object placed there and not somewhere else? Are there colors on the edges that aren’t found elsewhere? How detailed is the object at which you’re looking? You can often learn more from the attention to detail on the fringes than you can from the attention to detail on the main attraction.
Let Your Eyes Wander When You Stroll
The next time you’re ambling about town, let your eyes wander. Don’t look at the cars and the social commodities that everyone else looks at. Look up to the clouds, or the hills, or to the lone tree sitting off in the distance. Why one tree? Why those hills? Why do the clouds dance the way they do? New sights lead to new questions–to questions that others aren’t asking. And when you ask different questions, you get different answers. That’s the start of a unique perspective.
Learn From the Little Things
Lastly, when you adopt this approach, when you look for the little things that no one else is seeing, you learn things you wouldn’t otherwise.
You learn about the world, but you also learn about yourself. You begin to understand that there’s more to the world than the information thrown in your direction. When you refuse to be fed the same diet as everyone else, you come away with new insights.
So, try to look for the little things today. Purposely look in the opposite direction of others.
You don’t need to be a grumpy contrarian to get a new perspective and new insights.
You just need to be a bit more intentional about where you look.

This one was a bit longer than what I’ve typically been writing. But this is an idea that has really hit me hard over the last few weeks. It’s helping me out, and I hope it will help you too.


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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Writer, Poet, and Advocate

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