Imagine for a moment you read a book a month. Since the average American reads very few books a year — if any — you consider yourself a heavy reader. And that’s completely fine! The majority of people don’t read much, especially anything valuable, so 12 books a year is great! But, imagine you meet someone who reads 8 books a month, now how much of a reader are you comparatively?
All that changed was your contrast. Your previous “contrast” was relative to the general population of America, and by shifting your contrast to someone who reads more than you do, the view (or perspective) shifts to be greater or smaller. Imagine this as “Special Relativity” applied to personal development.
I’ve found that contrast is a very helpful tool to discover the truth. Often, specifically about whether I’m truly achieving my potential (hint: no one is). You can apply this in any area of life, here are some examples:
Giving $10,000/month to charity since the average American gives $250/month? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $300,000,000/month in grants in 2013.
Visit the gym 3 times a week since the average American visits 2 times? Olympians are at least visiting 6 times a week, if not 7.
The purpose for contrast is not to discourage, but to encourage, especially to show that there is always more growth and opportunity left! I specifically use this technique to expand my consciousness around what’s possible before I create goals or plans, and then make decisions based on what’s really possible instead of thinking small and limiting my impact.
This technique is a great example of expanding your consciousness. As I started to use contrast to change my perspective on what’s possible, I realized both that I had been severely short sighted, and that anything can be achieved. I used to think that making $10,000 a month was incredible and that it would be absurd to try to do better. But when I became adjusted to hearing of people making $10,000/month, I realized that there are people making $100,000/month, or even $1,000,000/month! I quickly uncovered that $10,000 wasn’t absurd at all and that it all depends entirely on the contrast you have.
This is commonly used in music, where without the quiet parts, there would be no way to generate momentum and pressure eventually building to the contrast of a crescendo.
Another example of this is commonly found in what’s referred to as “Expert Blindness“. If you contrast your knowledge base with other experts, you might not think you’re very knowledgeable. But if you contrast your knowledge base with someone who needs an experts help, you might realize you have a wealth of knowledge that you can use to serve people! So it’s important to find your passion because you might not be aware of the things that seem easy to you, it’s fairly common to have a very low opinion of your skills contrasted to the people who want to pay for you to help them.
Action: Think about a couple areas in your life you want to improve, find the most successful people in that area, and then use THEM as the contrast (not the average) when you Orient. Only then will you have a clear picture between what you’re doing now, and what you could be doing!