What is orientation?

Is it what shapes the way we interact with the environment?

Is it how ten photographers could shoot the same scene and each image would look different?

Is it why there are differences in how people respond to events in their lives, or perhaps a person’s identity in relation to gender?

Is it the cause of when a business refuses to change its model until it’s too late?

It’s all of these things and more.

Orientation became a critical component of character development last month as I wrote the first fifty thousand words of a novel. It forced me to make mental shifts while in the minds of characters whose actions were completely at odds with what mine would be, under those same circumstances. Some of the characters I lingered with, while others made me want to burn sage to cleanse the air afterward!

Orientation describes why people have certain behaviors, relationships, and varying abilities to adapt—we are products of our experiences, genetics, and culture—and recognizing that allows for better decision making.

When it comes to living your best life, be prepared to make mental shifts on a daily basis. Evaluate and reevaluate. Are the people in your life vested in you? Are they after personal gain? Can they do you harm? Are there strings attached to everything? Look beyond the public or social media picture that’s painted for you. If you don’t, you’ll never know if it’s real or fabricated.

The image above brings another year to a close. It’s a reflection of mountains and trees on a frozen river. And isn’t the end of a year the perfect time for reflection?

This post brings to a close seven years of blogging and happily enough, a doubling of my readership over last year’s numbers. Thank you all, and Happy New Year!