Perspective – “a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view”.
One day recently I found myself driving down a road I knew only too well – I know every turn, every shop and every house along its path. It’s the same road leading to the same destination I’ve always known. But despite my knowledge of the road and where it led, I had never driven back in the opposing direction, I’d usually take a different way back (don’t ask me why). This time was different, however, as the road I normally take back was closed, forcing me to return the same way I had come.
Before long, I had to stop halfway and check Google Maps on my phone. I was convinced I was lost. How could this be the same road I always came down? The houses I thought I knew had huge gardens behind them with fields stretching out to a river. I didn’t know there was a river? It’s funny how I can live for over two decades in one tiny village area, and only discover most of the landscape after looking back on the way I’d come.
It goes to show the importance of turning things upside down once in a while. It’s a little thing called seeing things in a different perspective. Amazon CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos was an active spokesperson for its importance. He once said, “perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points”. And it’s easy to see why. Some of the most important business/ scientific discoveries came from shifts in perceptive and turning ideas on their head.
The next time someone dislikes a film you loved, maybe it’s because they weren’t seeing or picking up on the things that you were. Me and my friend recently watched a film in the cinema. To my surprise, I liked it and they disliked it. I couldn’t understand why? The cinematography was immense and I found the story line thrilling. Normally they would have really liked it – we’ve always like the same films. But then I discovered that they had just watched their favourite film the night before. What normally would be a great film can only at best appear average and worse than it was in reality against the best. The fresh memories of the highest-quality film from the previous night had changed their perspective in the cinema as they could compare them together.
A rather amusing TED Talk featuring advertising guru, Rory Sutherland, particularly caught my attention on the topic. He draws attention to the “power of reframing things” and gives a funny example of being alone at a party. You can either stand there, outside on the balcony looking bored and unsociable, speaking to no-one. Or, if you simply find yourself with a cigarette in hand, sporting a new posture and everyone “suddenly thinks you’re a f***ing philosopher”.
“In other words, things are not what they are; they are what we think they are and what we compare them to”
So why is perspective important? Well for one thing and as we saw just then, you can appear to not care or have less interest in things or people as they slowly fade from your immediate memory and thought. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people or objects are less important and useful to you, but it suggests we can forget at how important people once were to us, or how much we loved something in the past that slowly appears less amazing as the feeling produced from it has worn thin.
Consider the former as a tool to evaluate what you’re doing, how you act, how you are perceived,your posture, and use it to benefit yourself. After all, life is all about making decisions, perhaps considering different perspectives can give you the added insights required to make informed decisions. Or perhaps carrying some cigarettes on you can increase your ability to look candid and intriguing.
Perspective is beautiful, it’s a human quality. And of course, anything human is naturally flawed, as we are after all … the perfect imperfect beings.
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Find the link for that TED Talk on perspective here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iueVZJVEmEs