Zoom Out

It’s me again. This week’s lesson seems so simple, yet can be one of the most difficult preachings to actually practice: zoom out.

“Real vague, Kennedy. Good job,” you might say.

Allow me to elaborate. For me, learning to “zoom out” has brought me a bounty of things like peace, patience, understanding and the power of forgiveness.

Depending on the day, I tend to consider myself a “big-picture person.” This can be both a blessing and a curse. However, for this particular lesson, being able to see the big picture can be the hardest but most rewarding part.

Imagine you catch wind of somebody spreading rumors about you or speaking poorly on your name. What’s your immediate reaction? Sadness? Anger? That split-second, white-hot feeling that you feel in response is one of the hardest to push “pause” on. These critical moments before you act upon your reaction are when you must remind yourself to zoom out. Just humor yourself by imagining what your life will be like in a couple days from now, or a week, or a month. Will you even remember hearing about this obviously envious person speaking on your name? You shouldn’t. You’ll be getting on with your life, kicking it with your friends, studying hard, and, well, living.

The amount of energy you waste responding the way the person irritating you most likely wants you to respond is almost laughable. Let’s say you go off on our hypothetical hater: what happens? Maybe you two were friends and now you’re never friends again, or maybe it was a stranger, you get into a fight, and you both get suspended. I know those are both a little extreme, but the point I’m trying to get across is that it's not worth ruining your own mood and probably others’ by reacting so intensely.

Mastering the art of the “zoom-out” has saved me a million and a half bad days—and counting—and I recommend just giving it a shot. It even works in relaxed situations, too. Try it now if you want. Think about all the stuff you’ve been stressing over lately, all the moments that keep you up at night, all the topics you’ve cried over, got angry over; think of all the bad. Pretty uncomfortable so far. Kind of lame piece of advice, right? Wrong. Now take a second and think about where you want to be in a week, a month, a year, a decade. Did you make it there by being stuck on the things that you’re stressed about now? Do you think the you in that moment is feeling the way you do now? Do you want them to? That’s your brain, your feelings, your emotions.

Zoom out.

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