Shifting perspectives on The City

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

I am not from this city. I’m not even from this country. But, like many of us, I arrived in San Francisco with some ideas and fantasies about how great it would be to live here.

After living in The City for a little while, I started to hear more and more people complaining about things like how expensive The City has become, how bad the public transportation works, how critical the homeless situation has become, and so on.

To be honest, in my personal experience, most of these complaints are true.

Nevertheless I would like to propose a shift in perspective.

Neuroscience has proven that when we focus our energy and attention on a specific matter we build in our brain what they call neural pathways. These pathways are like “highways” where our thoughts and emotions travel every day, and they become stronger by the repetition of our actions and thoughts in one same direction.

So here is the first challenging question I would like to share: What are you generating in yourself and in your mindset when you complain about the things you don’t like about The City?

At this point I think it’s important to be clear about something: This is not a trick article to promote anything about San Francisco.

And now, I would like to challenge you with my second question: What can you do so that, without forgetting what’s not great about living here, you can focus on what is great about The City?

One idea I would like to share with you is a practical exercise:

Start next week thinking about two exciting new things that you can do to explore, discover or take advantage of living in this city.
What can you find in this city that you wouldn’t find in any other and that you have never tried?

It doesn’t have to be something difficult, expensive or grandiose. But it must be something that really brings you joy when you think about it. Everything counts as long as just the fantasy of doing it brings you a good and vibrant sensation.

After you have picked the activities please schedule the exact day and time you will do them and put it on your calendar.

The last part is the most important: Be accountable for your own promise to yourself.

As hard as it might be to believe, once you start incorporating new habits or shift your mindset, your neural pathways will begin to change. This new mindset will start to have a direct impact in the rest of your life.

I hope you enjoy and have fun discovering new activities in your city but mostly I hope you enjoy the process of challenging yourself and discovering that there is a whole new world of possibilities in every one of us waiting to take action.

Nico Iglesias is a therapist and professional coach in San Francisco.

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