If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change! – Wayne Dyer
Steven Covey, in his best-selling book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, has shared a story about a man who walked and sat near the seat Covey was sitting on. Along with this man were his children who were behaving extremely loud and unruly. And this man was sitting as if completely unaware of the situation. For long, Steven held his calm and wanted the man to take control of his kids. Everyone else around was also getting irritated and impatient. So, finally, although agitated, the author politely told the man, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more.” To this the man calmly informed everyone that he has just lost his wife and the children didn’t know how to react to the loss of their mother.
Immediately the total atmosphere changed. Covey and everyone else there saw things differently and felt differently. Now the running around and shouting of children didn’t hurt anyone’s ears. All irritation got transformed into compassion and concern. In a moment they would even smile at the shouts of those little kids.
What had changed in the above story? Was it the way children were shouting? Or the environment people were sitting in? None of these! It was just the window or the glass through which the author and other people were looking at the situation that had changed – their perspective had changed!
Things are not what they are; they are what you think they are!
Have you ever used a kaleidoscope? Does the outside world changes while using the instrument? No! Use of a coloured glass makes the outside world, which remains the same, to appear colourful. Same is with perspective – choice of a different window – a different angle – to look at anything. However, it further does change how we feel and respond to the situation.
Also, we all have our own filters for the world. If you and I both were to walk along the same road in the same direction and at the same pace, we both will have a different experience. Because we individually filter the world differently, so notice different things and thus have different perspectives. And that is for almost every situation.
I used to consider Google and Facebook such great companies offering everything for free. I loved browsing the internet. However, a few days back I came across a trustworthy video revealing that these companies peek into our mails and anything we do, later passing on the information to other companies. Knowing this, I developed an intense loathing towards these companies and haven’t stopped but I suddenly minimised their usage. What changed? Just the perspective – the way I thought about, and felt about those companies. Everything else still remains the same.
A majority of situations in life have a similar story to tell. If somebody loses their job and becomes sad, it is just because of the glass they are using to see the situation and events. Change the glass and everything will change. Often when someone, a counsellor or a coach, takes a step to help such individuals, they only try to show a different way to look at the situation and hence the future. When the person who has lost the job or anything special reflects further, they are able to see it from different window – a different perspective. A person losing a job might see the opportunity to explore his own deeper interests, or a time to take care of his family, or something else. And the way he sees will make him think and feel in a certain manner that will in turn impact his behaviour, finally, his life!!
When there is a loss of life in family, it’s really difficult to move on knowing that somebody we loved is no more in this world. However, thinking of the illnesses he had been suffering here, the numerous tasks for which he needed help and how weak he might be feeling during those times, it appears better right? You might now be better able to accept the loss. Isn’t it about choosing a better perspective?
Almost every situation gives us this opportunity to change our glass and derive a more empowering perspective to move further. Getting or choosing a different perspective for anything is not something that can be done in a moment always, but it’s not impossible either.
Albert Einstein once said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.