Jill unfolded her napkin and placed it in her lap. Kevin opened his briefcase, took out the document and handed it to Jill. As she glanced at it, her eyes began to fill with tears, and the waiter quickly changed direction, knowing that the couple at table 23 would need some time.
What just happened? Divorce papers, a letter of resignation, the final paperwork on a first home?
Like a lot of things in life, this scene is open to interpretation. We don’t know the inner workings or the dynamics of the couple. We don’t even know who they are. But based on our own prejudices, hopes, fears, and world-view, we’ll view a situation from the perspective that most closely resembles our own. How about changing that…
An Upside-Down View
As a kid, did you ever hang upside-down, either off the side of your bed or on monkey bars? Do you remember viewing the world upside-down, and imagining what it would be like to live that way? I used to imagine playing a jumping game between the paddles of a slow moving ceiling fan, or how you’d have to step over the top of the door when going from room to room, if you were walking on the ceiling.
Learning to change your perspective can be a powerful thing.
- When challenges happen, try seeing them from a different point of view. Is this really that bad? Can you learn something? Can you just be with the emotions, for now?
- If you are considering making the leap to self-employment, try looking at things as if you are already your own boss. How would you approach things like your work, family, free time? What would your life be like with your new freedom and drive to succeed?
- Try really seeing things from the point of view of your customers. What do they really want? What can you do to better meet their needs, and exceed their expectations?
- When you are frustrated and struggling, maybe you could use some outside perspective.
Jill couldn’t believe her eyes. From the time she was 8 years old, all she dreamed about was becoming a published author. And now she held a contract with a huge advance in her hand. Kevin knew she had talent, and he was glad he took a chance on her.
What could you view differently?
I’ve been having a hell of a time comprehending this new book I bought. After further review, I realized that the reason why was I was reading the book upside down. After reading your post, I tried something different – I stood on my head and read and, voila, I understood!
Thanks Tony. As always, loved it.
Your blog is really wonderful. Its inspirational cum entertaining. You have got amazing creativity. Hats off !!
Buck – Nice, one… Way to change your perspective 😉
Dhruv – Thanks! I appreciate the kind words.
I am reminded of the book by Edward De Bono – Six Thinking Hats and how I use different hats for different perspectives. If I want to look at things differently then I wear a new hat as it requires the appropriate changes in posture, attitude, etc. Imagine trying to seriously think about a business proposal while wearing a nice suit and a hat with pull down flaps.
It’s a great way to get a new perspective. As usual you keep me reviewing the basics.
Peter – That’s a terrific concept. Thanks for sharing the book. I’m going to check it out.
Amen! Since she was very little, I have played a game with my daughter that we call “what else could it mean?” We, as humans, see a single moment in time, hear a sentence, observe a behavior and the next thing you know — we’ve mapped out an entire story about what it meant. Mary didn’t say hello to me when I passed her in the hall. That MUST mean that she’s mad at me.
I think having the ability to shift your focus and see things from a different perspective is a vital life skill. Hence the game with my daughter. Whenever she would begin to draw a conclusion, I would say, “could be. What else could it mean?” She’d think and then come up with a different answer. I’d said, “yup, could be. What else could it mean?” After 4-5 rounds, we both could recognize that the given situation could mean a wide array of things and we’d better not make an assumption based on our own biases.
Now….as a teenager, the game goes both ways. Sometimes she catches me and innocently asks, “gee Dad, what else could it mean?”
Drew – Thatâ€™s awesome. What a wonderful way to approach things. I agree that it’s a vital skill. I believe that one of the biggest hurdles to success is being stuck in a past mindset. There’s that quote from Einstein about not being able to solve a problem from the same thinking that created it. The only way, is to change the way of thinking.
You’re right Tony. Perspective sure does change the way one looks at things. I read somewhere that a girl was born with no face – two eyes and a mouth, but no face. And then we worry about traffic being heavy on the way to work.
A little dose of perspective goes a really long way in making life easier !
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