Seeing From Your Own Perspective
In the words of Anais Nin:
“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
The way you experience the world is through your own filter. That filtered perspective is developed through an amalgamation of your life experiences. Your parents, your childhood, your joys and traumas are all combined to create your own personalized and filtered perspective of the world.
If you are sensitive to criticism, constructive comments may feel like personal attacks from your perspective.
If you are a perfectionist, an error in a company presentation may send you into a downward spiral.
If you are accustomed to looking for faults, even the smallest dot on an otherwise blank piece of paper can seem like a flaw.
That’s the power of a personalized perspective.
We don’t consciously think about how our perspective influences how we experience the world. It just happens. You are just you.
And that’s where I challenge you.
Open-mindedness to different perspectives is an important trait for successful leadership. Heck, it’s an important trait for general human connectivity.
But being open-minded means challenging your perspective. It means asking yourself the complicated question:
“How would I think if I were to think different?”
Viewing Life From A Different Perspective
The most common complaint I hear from my change management consulting clients comes from the oh-so-popular “If Only” variety.
If only I had more staff.
If only I had a better management team.
If only I weren’t the only person who knows how to do things right.
Too often leaders get stuck in the quicksand of their “If onlys” and there they sink further into a hole of despair.
But, as Henry David Thoreau once said from his hovel in the forest,
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
If you believe you are looking at an unfiltered reality, if you think that change is out of your control, you will always play the hero in your story.
The problem is that it’s rarely the hero that is the one to blame.
This is the biggest issue with the “if only’s” – by perceiving your situation as unchangeable – by not looking beyond the black dot on the page – you fall victim to victimization.
You aren’t the hero of the story to anybody but you. You’re just seeing things from your biased perspective.
Sometimes this is done consciously but more often it’s driven by the subconscious. We say things that make sense in our minds:
“Can you please hand me that over there.”
And then we get frustrated at others for not understanding.
“Hand you what? Where?”
“THAT!! THERE! Just give it to me!”
Similarly, when we are shown the paper the professor displayed, everybody will say that they see a dot. The challenge in life is to look at the paper and create a different perspective – to see the vast opportunity in the blank white page that represents every other perspective on the matter.
How do you do this?
I’m darn glad you asked.