In the last article, we looked at how taking ownership over the three things we can control gives us the agency to choose our own perspective instead of letting our circumstances dictate our attitude. But I want to recognize that sometimes, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, it can feel like we don’t have a positive perspective available for us to choose. In that instance, we need to gain a new perspective. 

Me There and We There

we and me there

Any There we set can be a Me There or a We There. A Me There is a goal that serves your own self-interest, while a We There is for the greater good. It serves both your own self interest as well as the interest of others. One of the great things about having a There is that it gives us a purpose to pursue outside of ourselves, but we undermine that reality when we make it into a self-serving Me There. 

We can set a We There by looking beyond ourselves to how we can serve others. For instance, instead of thinking “how can I climb the ranks in my organization,” you might consider how you can serve the organization so that everyone might succeed. It’s about working with others towards a common goal rather than competing against them for more power or status. 

We have to be intentional about setting We Theres because, if we’re not careful, the fight for Me will always want to resurface. The Me There is what happens when we’re stuck in the Victim Circle, believing that our circumstances dictate our perspective. But setting a We There allows us to look beyond ourselves and strive towards a greater purpose. 

Fake It Until You Make It 

Here at the Crossroad, we often say that structure demands behavior. Put in other words, it means that the way we structure our lives–our surroundings and environments and institutions–will determine the kind of habits and behaviors that we exhibit. But I would like to posit a further connection. Structure demands behavior, and behavior then in turn demands perspective. 

Is it possible to do selfless actions for selfish reasons? Yes. But, most of the time, it’s hard to maintain the perspective of a Me There if you start acting like you’re in a We There mindset. If you’re having a hard time believing that you can choose your perspective, start acting like you already have, and your mindset will follow. 

If you’ve been stuck living out of a Me There for so long, you might not know what it looks like to switch over to a We There. Perhaps you feel so overwhelmed by your personal circumstances that you can’t find your way out, or you’ve gotten so used to the dog-eat-dog corporate world that you don’t know another way to work. But starting by doing simple tasks that help others or considering the needs of the whole organization will help you get out of your own head. Because the truth is that pursuing a Me There is lonely and frustrating. But pursuing a common mission alongside others will give you a greater purpose outside yourself. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Coordinator at The Crossroad.