You’re used to being in the loop and on top of things, but somehow you’ve lost your sense of perspective, and now all you can see is what’s right in front of you. Even little setbacks can bring you to a screeching halt. Why don’t the possibilities seem as open as they once did?

Your assignment

Step back and widen your view of the world.

1. Look at old things in new ways.

When we stare at the same problem for too long, we can’t see it anymore. Try looking at your surroundings with new eyes: Pick three ordinary objects (don’t overthink it), and for each one, spend three minutes brainstorming new ways to use it or present it.

2. Play roving reporter.

Try adopting another person’s point of view: Find a friend or coworker with an interest that you don’t really get—romance novels, stamp collecting—and interview her to find out what she loves about it. Or think of someone who baffles you and take her out for coffee.

3. Tell a story.

Hearing your story out loud may help you find faulty logic or new possibilities. Describe your situation to someone and ask her to repeat it back to you. Ask questions like “What do you think is the crux of the problem?” and “Where do you see opportunity?”

4. What would they say?

How would you respond to your situation if you were...

A 7-year-old child?

A World War II fighter pilot?

A 1960s hippie?

A great-grandmother?

Your imaginary advisers may have fresh solutions.

5. Act as if.

Finish these sentences:

I can’t ____ .

I don’t ____ .

I won’t ____ .

Now cross out can’t, don’t, and won’t. Read those statements again. How would life be different if they were true? For just a week, can you live as if they are?


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