Changing Perspective

Difficulties, problems, mishaps: we do not wish them on anyone. Yet, far more than ease and success, harsh and uncomfortable experiences can evoke in us resources that, in easier situations, may remain dormant. Here we shall see how it is possible to face hardship with a different attitude, and to transform it into a chance for learning and growth. In Italian we have a soccer expression: cambiar gioco — "to change one's play." It means suddenly sending the ball into a completely different part of the field, in order to surprise the adversary and start again in a new way. In the problematic circumstances of life, we can learn to change our play, too.

Remember always: The will is not just doing this or that. It is also consciously and deliberately changing our inner attitude.


Think of a past hardship in which you summoned all your inner strength, your will, intelligence, and passion. From that experience, however hard, you emerged stronger, and perhaps wiser.

Now choose a current difficulty: a situation you would prefer did not exist — but does. With your eyes closed, observe all the reactions you have to it. What happens to your body when you think about it? How is your breathing? What are your posture and muscular tensions? What feelings does this problem arouse? Anger, dismay, despair? And with what strategies do you face it? You may find yourself dealing with this plight according to automatic reactions and superseded ideas — in other words, with blunted weapons.

Now think of the resources of strength and intelligence, will and love, resilience and energy, that this state of crisis can elicit in you. What new modality can you activate to face this difficulty? How can you change your play? Think it through in detail.

Practical Hints

A basic mistake in this exercise is to confuse a difficulty with our way of handling it. The difficulty itself is one thing. Our way of handling it —with despair or confidence, resignation or energy, unconscious reactivity or purposeful imaginativeness — is quite another.

Piero Ferrucci in Your Inner Will