Inner Space
Hi, I’m Diana Demco and this is the Inner Space newsletter about my reflections on living an examined life. If you're new, you can find old editions here. You're getting this email because you signed up on my website. If you'd like to unsubscribe, click here.
I've written before about the powerful skill of seeing the bigger picture. Now, I'd like to approach it from a different angle.

Our ability to step out of our shoes and assess a situation impartially, or from a different perspective, can bring immense benefits in our work, relationships and personal growth. When we remove ourselves from the immediacy of an event, we'll access a clearer frame of thinking, one that's not loaded with hot emotions or stubborn thoughts. This kind of process is known as psychological distance, and is part of Construal-Level Theory, developed in 2003 by Trope and Liberman. They identified 4 types of psychological distance: temporal, spatial, social and experiential.

Here are some situations in which you can use psychological distancing to gain a more transparent understanding of an event.
  • Apply the "third person" view. If you're having an argument with someone, try to remove yourself from the event by imagining what an impartial observer might have to say about your conflict. See how your emotional involvement can cloud your judgement.
    • If you want to go deeper, when you analyze things through a third person perspective, don't neglect the socio-cultural context that informed that view. You may get psychological distance, but you're still operating in the same frame of reference.
  • Take a mental break. When you're overwhelmed by all the things you need to do, pausing and putting on your "distance" glasses will help you better prioritize your tasks. By stepping back from the mountain of work we need to do, we'll see exactly what demands our attention now vs what is merely distracting us and can be postponed.
  • Watch yourself from the future. When you're unsure how you should proceed in a scenario, try to imagine the consequences of your choice. You won't always be able to gauge the exact results of your actions, but you may be able to infer some broad strokes (especially if you have past experience with that situation). See where the actions you want to pursue might take you. For example, postponing an important conversation now may result in a muddy relationship in the future.
Remember: your thinking is like a house. To examine it properly, it's better if you step out of it and assess it from a distance, rather than run around from room to room, chasing you echo.

When you're in a rut, try to gain some mental or physical distance. It will benefit you immensely.

Timeless Content

The Paradoxes of Modern Life
David Perell | 2 minute read
One of my favorite things about our existence is how unintuitive it sometimes is. Life is messy, confusing and it doesn't always make sense. But it is precisely when our intuitions break down, at the intersection of logic and absurdity, that life becomes wonder-full.

In this article, online writer David Perell shares a few of the paradoxes you may encounter in this bewildering world. My favorites are the Paradox of Creativity and the Paradox of Productivity.

Picture of the Week

Behold the power of perspective! This is kind of dizzying shape is also known as an impossible object.

Quote I'm Reflecting On

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on being connected to the universe:

Those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. Because when I look up in the universe, I know I'm small but I'm also big. I'm big because I'm connected to the universe, and the universe is connected to me.

Question For You To Ponder

Imagine one of your friends asked you for advice on a situation that's identical to your biggest problem you're dealing with right now. What advice would you give them?
Thank you for reading.

Until next time,
To respond to this email, just hit reply. I'd love to hear from you.

If you think someone you know might enjoy this newsletter, feel free to share it. If someone else forwarded this to you, you can subscribe here.
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet