Have you ever stepped back, reflected on your past, and thought why did I do that?

A law that I’ve come to hold for myself is that of close perspective. It has been defined by multiple communities in different fashions, including in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Close perspective means that–no matter how hard one may try–one cannot see past one’s current situation, one’s current mood. If you are angry, you will view all stimuli through the lens of anger. If you are sad, likewise, you will view all stimuli through the lens of sadness.

This goes further, as close perspective is not defined solely by mood. Your own personal paradigms can also define how you will interpret information. If you view yourself as a higher-value person–if you love yourself–you will view interactions with people through the assumption that others will generally recognize your value. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: this belief will translate into action upon that assumption, which will in turn cause others to react positively and reinforce your belief.

In my own, recent experience, I have made an interesting observation: the results from this change in belief are not consistent with the effort put in. The results outweigh the effort. I have found that small things make a larger difference. Things that may seem insignificant, such as prolonging a conversation, giving someone a compliment, or chatting with a stranger, all compound into a change in day-to-day mood and perspective.

Social interaction is a human need, much like food or shelter. However, there is a notion that social interaction is not necessary: a growing fashion of introversion. Despite arguments to the contrary, and noted benefits of extra alone time, I think the best avenue to growth is through social interaction and the expansion of your comfort zone. Such a deeply ingrained process can be leveraged to extreme benefit. It is a path to success.

Intelligence is something we cannot change. While we may be able to optimize our minds and increase our efficiency, intelligence is largely determined by birth. What we can change, however, is our level of social skill and charisma. And it is simple to do so.

Breaking close perspective begins first with realizing that your mind can and does change. Following this, you must push yourself forward, into a variety of different perspectives.

Put yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable. Do things–within reason–that you otherwise would not do. Take the time to consider why you feel reluctant. Is there a legitimate, logical cause? Or is it simply a feeling that is preventing you from taking action? If it is the latter, do it anyway. Do not fall captive to negative feelings of fear and anxiety. They are not a wall; they are a fog. Walk through the fog and you will find yourself on the other side, having achieved what you thought not possible.