I was at the front desk of my local recreation centre chatting with the staff person encircling my wrist with the appropriate coloured band of the day.
She asked me how my day was going.
“Excellent,” I replied. I told her that I had no bombs falling on my head as was happening to many people in Ukraine. I was lucky to have a full fridge and a warm, comfortable place to sleep.
She responded, “You’ve got that I had that right.”
Then she told me about her young daughter, who was gaining skills with spelling. Recently she accomplished her hardest word yet – perspective.
She said that learning that word is probably one of the most helpful words she could remember. How she looks at things impacts how she feels. It gives her more resiliency in her life.
Later as I was doing my workout, I thought about a sports team. They had wins in their last five games—an impressive winning streak. Unfortunately, game 6 saw a lead quickly evaporate into a tie at the end of regulation play. They lost in overtime.
So how could this new situation be described? Well, it depends on what you are trying to do with the description.
The five-game winning streak ended.
They haven’t lost a game in the last six outings.
Opponents of the team would favour the former, while fans of the team would prefer the latter. A win in game seven would keep the streak going.
And my last example involves looking at a picture of a footprint in the soil. If the sunlight is coming from the top left, we interpret it as an impression in the ground. If the sunlight is coming from the bottom right, we see the impression as being raised above the surface. How strange. Try it next time you have a photo with shadows showing relief. Now turn it upside down.
Please give this a bit of a think.
What is a recent situation you identified a certain way? How did it make you feel and react? Now flip that perspective. What choice would be most beneficial to you? Do you still have time to choose a perspective that leaves you feeling more optimistic?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit-of-a-think in the comments below.
Photo by Atharva Tulsi on Unsplash
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2 thoughts on “P-E-R-S-P-E-C-T-I-V-E”
My summer reading started by reading Holocaust memoirs because two boxes of these books were not being claimed by anyone where I work. After book number seventeen I was starting to feel depressed so I needed to take a break. My perspective was altered dramatically as I started to absorb the pain and suffering of so many people. A friend innocently remarked on her dislike for a particular food and my mind immediately went back to the stories of starvation in my recent readings. So yes my perspective was altered by internalizing these tragic stories even though they didn’t happen to me. But they did happen to my father-in-law, an Auschwitz survivor whose story was recorded by Spielberg. Knowledge gives us ways to view things from different perspectives if we allow ourselves to have an open mind. There is goodness in this world and it was evident in every story I read because of people who risked their lives to save the lives of others.