8 Radical Life Perspectives That Will Slap You Across The Face

You can radically change the way you feel in life just by looking at things in a new way.

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A perspective shift is one of the best feelings ever.

It’s exactly like switching the lights on in the middle of the night. At first, it’s uncomfortable. Blinding. It stings your eyes. But then, slowly your eyes adapt to it. And you see everything better.

Most people don’t want to see things in a new way. They can’t handle the initial discomfort that comes with such shifts. But I love them because they help me get closer to the truth. Hence, I actively chase perspective shifts to constantly reinvent the way I see the world.


So far, I’ve experienced many such shifts. But these eight really slapped me across the face.

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Here are 8 radical life perspectives that slapped me across the face:

1. The goal is to be so unique that it’s an insult to compare yourself to others

I found this on Zat Rana’s website.


Since we were born, we’ve been in environments that breed comparisons. In school, we were told to push ourselves to be the class topper. Then on social media, we started comparing our lives with others. In our offices, we began comparing our salaries and positions to others.

Yet this model is broken. If only the best and the brightest can find happiness, only the top 1% of the world would be happy.

A better model is what Zat suggests: we must try to build a life so unique that it cannot be compared to the lives of others. This is better because there are unlimited ways to live unique lives; and such a model boasts happiness for everyone, not just the top few.

So starting today, stop trying to be the best. And try to be different, and live a life unique to your true self.


2. You owe your parents a lot, but not your entire life

Most of us look up to our parents. And we should. They’ve made so many sacrifices to raise us. But I think most people make the mistake of believing that they owe their parents their whole lives.

It’s partly because of the culture we’ve created. We’re told to never disobey our parents because they’re older and they want and know what’s best for us. To which, I call bulls***.

Yes, most parents want what’s best for their children. But I don’t think they know what’s best for them.

Since we’re told never to disobey our parents, many people blindly listen to their parents. Kids do what their parents want them to do, instead of doing what they want to do. Obedience, they think, is a virtue and they try to uphold it.


But most people end up being sad and frustrated with the decisions their parents took for them, and consequently, they end up resenting their parents.

This is why, I believe that you owe your parents a lot, but not your whole life. I think it’s better to disappoint your parents today (by choosing what you want in life as opposed to their wants) and still love them, instead of being obedient today and resenting them tomorrow.

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3. Compatibility should be the achievement of love, not its prerequisite

When we look for partners, we try to find someone who’s compatible with us; people who share the same tastes as us. This is the predominant culture we’ve set. However, I think it’s not ideal for two reasons.

  • First, it might encourage lying. People might lie about their tastes on the initial dates to seem compatible with the other. Eventually, however, the truth comes out, and people are disappointed that they were not really that compatible, to begin with.
  • Second, it restricts us. We reject so many potential partners just because we think they are not compatible.

Instead, we should think of compatibility as an achievement of love, not its prerequisite. As two people fall in love, they should try to achieve compatibility. They should try different things together, and start enjoying them. They should test out each other’s perspectives, and understand why the other thinks that way. In essence, they should try to grow into and with each other.

4. Rich people often live very poorly

I read somewhere that true wealth is not having to think about money that often, which is why, rich people often live very poorly. And it makes so much sense.

People fail to understand what money is. Money is just a means to an end. Yet, most people see it as the end in itself. And hence, even when people have a lot of money, they still keep thinking about money all the time.

I see money as a way to buy freedom in terms of time, and peace. An example comes to mind: For instance, any normal person would be furious if someone runs into their expensive car in traffic. They’d climb down, hurl some abuses, and demand compensation for the damages.


However, what I wish for myself is this: if someone runs into my car, I’d want to have enough money in my pocket and enough peace in my mind that I could say to the guy, "That’s okay, don’t worry about it. Let’s get some coffee!"

5. You’re not getting closer to death, you’re dying your way to death

When we talk about someone critically ill, we often say, "They’re dying." But the point is, aren’t we all dying? Ill people are just dying at a much faster rate than healthy people. But the truth is: we are all dying (continuous tense).

We think of death as something that will happen to us. But the truth is, it is happening to us right now. We’re not getting closer to death. We’re dying our way to death.

People feel happy on their birthdays because they get an extra dose of validation and who doesn’t like that? But the truth is, you’ve died yet another year on your birthday. I was always acutely aware of this. And hence, I’m always kind of sad on my birthday.


This seems like a grim perspective (literally). But when adopted, it has its benefits. You start to live life, instead of postponing it. You’re acutely aware of time passing by, and you’re motivated to make the most of it. This is why this perspective shift is truly helpful.

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6. Trying to decipher everything is a vice to overcome

Humans have a tendency to be curious, and it’s one of the most helpful traits we have. Due to it, we’ve explored space, traversed oceans, and found extraordinary things.

While curiosity, seeking answers, and this need to decipher everything are traits encouraged everywhere, Buddhism offers an alternative perspective. It says that trying to decipher everything is actually a vice to overcome.


This is because life doesn’t always make sense. In such situations, a person with an obsessive need to make sense of everything will be restless. I was one such person. But then, I realized that part of living a good life is to be content with not being able to figure everything out. It’s to just continue living life the best way you know how in spite of how meaningless it all seems at times.

After all, "the universe is under no obligation to make sense to you." — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

7. Most of what you learned in life came from moments that you despised at the moment

People despise the lows in their lives. They resist, reject and deny the worst moments of their lives. However, if you take a few steps back and look at your life from a distance, you’ll realize that most of what you learned in life came in your lowest moments. You learn when you’re happy as well, but the most profound lessons almost always emerge out of our deepest sorrows.


By this, I don’t mean to say that you should be happy when you’re low. That, by definition, is not possible. However, by this, I just want to promote the concept of Amor Fati; falling in love with fate; loving whatever happens to you — good or bad.

If something good happens to you, you’ll obviously love it. But even when something bad happens to you, try to look at the big picture and remember that these are the moments where you’ll learn the most. And I think that will make the suffering more bearable.

8. Everyday pleasures are not an insult to your ambition

Ambition is another trait that’s celebrated. We’re told to aim for big things in life. Big power. Big money. Big success. And that’s good. But when we believe that we should spend time building big things, by extension, we also start teaching ourselves that we should not spend time doing small things.

  • We don’t water the plants anymore.
  • We don’t drop our kids at school anymore.
  • We don’t get the groceries anymore.

All of these chores can be bought of course. We can pay a gardener to tend to the plants, call an Uber to drop the kids at school and order the groceries online. The time we save can be spent doing greater things.


However, these chores have intrinsic pleasures of their own which we give up when we ask someone else to do them for us.

  • We won’t get to enjoy the smell of the wet mud while watering the plants.
  • We won’t get to enjoy our kids quarreling in the car while dropping them to school.
  • We won’t enjoy getting to enjoy the company of our spouses while browsing the aisles of grocery stores.

I’m not asking you to start doing all your chores by yourself. Sure, have someone else take out the weeds in your garden. But understand that some chores have intrinsic pleasures of their own, and not everything should be delegated. Small things are not an insult to your ambition. They’re actually truly big.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.