Flip Your Outlook

Adrian S. Potter
2 min readFeb 28, 2019

Shifting Viewpoints with Brooks Atkinson (The Secondhand Inspiration Project)

Photo by Adrian S. Potter

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

“The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one.” ― Brooks Atkinson

To stay motivated, I often find myself playing a mental game of oscillating between short-term and long-term viewpoints.

When my short-term outlook seems challenging — facing an impossible deadline or an overwhelming glut of work — I take five or ten minutes to ponder my long-term goals. I envision earning a big promotion, visualize getting that big money project I covet, or daydream about turning a side hustle into a legitimate business. Taking a moment during a hectic day to visualize long-term goals subconsciously realigns my efforts. It helps me understand what role overcoming current struggles will play in getting me closer to my large aspirations.

Similarly, when my long-term outlook seems shaky, I retreat and take a short-term view of things. Rather than obsess about the uncertainty of huge scenarios in the distant future, I focus on small tasks that I can complete in a timely fashion. This builds my confidence by giving me a sense of accomplishment. Also, attacking these small tasks takes my focus away from long-term doubts and threats. And though the progress can be characterized as “taking baby steps,” doing these small actions creates positive momentum in the right direction — whereas I’d likely just sit on my self-pitying ass if I was overly focused on my bleak long-term outlook.

Perpetually shifting between long and short-term viewpoints is how I will myself into being motivated. Once you do it long enough, you realize you aren’t really even tricking yourself — you’re really adjusting your vision to the scope of what’s most important so you can keep moving forward.

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Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com