Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity. ~ Robert Morgan
Everything’s got space between it, the planets, trees, your eyes. Your eyes get too close together, it’s a whole different world. You can lose perspective. ~ Mos Def
I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful. ~ John Constable
Perspective…. something that can change everything. Perspective can cause us to view a seemingly horrific position in a positive way, or see the awful realities in an otherwise amazing gift. Perspective can alter our point of view in phenomenal ways, for good or bad. Perspective is what allows negative people to remain negative in what should be positive situations (always finding the one thing to complain about) and perspective allows some to find the silver lining in the midst of the darkest clouds in their lives (such as the death of a love one, surviving a horrible accident with many injuries, etc.)
The photos I have included in this piece are examples of the power of perspective. The photo above was taken from the window of an airplane. I love looking at the earth below when I am up traveling in the clouds. What a pleasure to see the snow on the mountains below. I looked out of my airplane window a few times and noticed how pretty the mountains looked. What a treat to see the remaining snow before it melted! Then I sat up in my seat and took a closer look – this is what I saw:
It appears that the lovely snow- capped mountains I had viewed for the past hour was actually dirt on an airplane wing. When I shifted my perspective, I saw that my version of reality was beautiful, but not accurate. The mountains I had created interpreted from my view were actually airplane wings. This, of course, could be very symbolic in its own right, but was quite disappointing at the time.
I have had other instances where a change of perspective has changed my understanding and point of view. What does this look like to you?
This looks like nothing, gray. Some may find it pretty, others may find it ugly. Some may feel it represents a future blank canvas and potential, others may say it represents the darkness lurking behind the next corner. When we take a step back, we see this is a portion, a very small portion, of a larger picture – which looks like this:
A beautiful spring day at a lake. The water, when blown up, doesn’t look like much, but is gorgeous in the context of the environment.
Next time you are perseverating on a situation, positive or negative, you may want to take a moment and ask yourself to shift your point of view (either literally, or metaphorically). In those moments, you may find important new vantage points that are critical for you to understand.
Life is never completely how it seems, but that is not a bad thing.
The most fatal illusion is the settled point of view. Since life is growth and motion, a fixed point of view kills anybody who has one. ~ Brooks Atkinson
Today, 313 days ’til 40, I will remind myself of the importance of understanding differing and shifting perspectives. When I do so, I open up my life to so much more insight and meaning. I hope you can do the same.
April 14, 2012 at 00:56
It’s like everything else – there is always two sides to the coin – when it’s about perspectives – and then there is perspectives, how we look differently on things and situations. The point of view .. yes, most of us have one – few of us state it.
April 14, 2012 at 01:05
Yes, very true!
April 14, 2012 at 01:37
just nominated you 🙂 jensinewall.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/let-the-sunshine-in
April 14, 2012 at 02:46
Thank you so much! 🙂 I appreciate the compliment.
April 14, 2012 at 02:47
Was just talking with a friend about perspective, and how difficult it is sometimes to see something from another perspective once we’re “locked in” to one. Love you post!!
April 14, 2012 at 02:58
Thanks so much, yes I have a feeling that many people can relate to this post! 🙂
April 14, 2012 at 04:12
this is so good. thanks for sharing.
April 14, 2012 at 23:26
My pleasure! 😉
April 14, 2012 at 04:40
This is completely irrelevant but I think you’re birthday should be roughly 5 days after mine. I’m Feb. 15th. Is it?
April 14, 2012 at 23:25
So close, six days after your birthday! I love February birthdays 🙂
April 14, 2012 at 05:27
Perspective is such a wonderful and beautiful thing isn’t it?! I have to constantly shift my perspective and worldview when it comes to teaching students and creating a work of art. I love the pictures you used to represent your point! I wish more people viewed our world in multiple perspectives!
April 14, 2012 at 23:25
Yes, it really is! 🙂 I think we all need to shift perspective and how wonderful that you are teaching this skill to your students!
April 14, 2012 at 05:37
Things are never as they seem, nor are they otherwise. Great post
April 14, 2012 at 23:23
So very, very true!
April 14, 2012 at 09:20
I never really outgrew the why? stage. You know that stage where children ask their parents and teachers why with every answer they are given.
Most annoying habit according to somebut it also changes perspective with a lot of people.
I often try think of it from a photography point of view (like your example) what would my idea be if I stood there, what lighting changes are needed and how is the picture affected.
April 14, 2012 at 23:19
I am so familiar with that stage (it is one I can often find myself reverting to – I think that is normal). I think it is healthy to ask the questions, and I love the photography reference.
April 14, 2012 at 14:24
That really shifted my mood just now, thanks for such a great reminder and some real inspiration, thank you.
April 14, 2012 at 23:18
You are very welcome! 🙂
Dory Smith Graham
April 14, 2012 at 15:39
Perspective allows for relevance. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Finding out what is relevant to you and how it fits in to your history and shapes the future you (and me!). Thanks for sharing!
April 14, 2012 at 23:18
Ah, such a good point, yes it certainly does!
April 14, 2012 at 15:50
Love those quotes!
April 14, 2012 at 23:17
Me too!!! 😉
April 14, 2012 at 17:15
I always forget about it in the moment, especially when I’m dealing with something bad, but a shift in perspective is always a good thing.
April 14, 2012 at 23:12
Yes, you are so right, it is so easy to get stuck in the moment – but when we are able to shift we find that we are able to get the movement we need and find our way back to contentment sooner.
April 14, 2012 at 17:27
The biggest step to opening our minds is realizing that they are closed. May we be young in mind!
April 14, 2012 at 23:11
Yes, so very true (and so very hard for so many people) – it may seem simple, but it is not!
April 14, 2012 at 17:37
I try to always imagine life as if I’m viewing it through a camera lense. How should I frame the subject to get the most out of it? Should I zoom in or out or go super close-up macro. To tint or not to tint. Angles effect shadows and lighting. So many factors influence perpective, but the key is to be willing to challenge what you percieve instead of just accepting it at face value. There is usually more beaty within you merely have to find it.
April 14, 2012 at 23:10
I love the camera analogy – it is great!
April 15, 2012 at 02:16
That is helpful to my musing on similarity/difference of perspective/framing. I can make them different when I remain in the abstract, but when you draw my attention to tangible, they seem quite similar.
April 15, 2012 at 17:48
Glad I can help. btw, everything In paint is abstract.
April 15, 2012 at 19:13
I always try to imagine what I’m looking at as art. The class I took on activating your right brain helped alot.
April 14, 2012 at 17:49
Wow! Great post and really well written. I enjoy reading life from your perspective 🙂
April 14, 2012 at 23:10
Thanks so much! 🙂
April 14, 2012 at 17:54
Beautifully put! I was recently in a very tough situation and all signs pointed to exit. Yet, I kept stubbornly holding on to something that was completely wrong for me. It was only when I got out of my own way and opened myself to new possibilities did my life take on new, crystal clear focus. In so doing, I’ve found a deeper level of peace, balance, and joy.
April 14, 2012 at 23:09
Thanks so much. I have also found the same thing in my life – sometimes it takes me getting away from a situation (particularly an unhealthy one) for me to be able to really gain the perspective I need and understand why it was not healthy. And, definitely, in those moments we then are able to be much more balanced and healthy. Thanks for the great comment!
April 14, 2012 at 18:16
Yesterday, after a grocery trip, we were very eager to get home and kept catching red lights. We were initially frustrated but decided to look at it in a different way to change our mood. We decided we were being “saved from something” or it was just a test in patience lol. Made it home safe to a sweet little doggy…all that matters.
April 14, 2012 at 23:06
Wow, what perfect timing – thank you for sharing this, as it is a great example of what I was talking about. It is indeed, all in perspective and I have often said those very things to myself!
April 14, 2012 at 20:28
Now I find myself wondering to what extent “finding perspective” and “framing a situation/idea” are the same or different. My first take is that “finding perspective” is looking for something already there that we have heretofore missed but “framing” is going beyond to create a new perspective that was not available before…not committed to that difference, just starting on it…
April 14, 2012 at 22:59
Ah, so much of our language is in the details of the semantics, isn’t it? I am not sure it really matters how you term it, as long as you have the ability and willingness to see the situation with new eyes (either by finding something you missed or seeing a new perspective altogether). 🙂
April 14, 2012 at 21:19
In a rough patch, which always seem to last forever, I try to think of it with a 180 degree. It sometimes works. The bad point of view turns into maybe I can do something with this.
I am in a bad patch now and I think that maybe this is a good thing. It means change and I can handle change. It’s the stick in the mud situation where I’m unhappy that I don’t handle well.
I only rant a tiny bit at this time. The rants are excellent.
April 14, 2012 at 22:57
What a wonderful strategy, thank you so much for sharing it with the readers. I hope you get through your rough patch quickly – I do agree, it is often the rough patches that give us the most opportunity for growth and change (when we are content there is little motivation).
April 14, 2012 at 23:24
Thanks for liking my post, it brought me to your site.
April 14, 2012 at 23:28
You are welcome, and thank you for visiting my blog! 🙂
April 15, 2012 at 01:02
Hello! Thank you for liking my blog post “How to be the Type of Woman you’ll Like”. It lead me to discover your blog. I think your quest is wonderful, and I’m really enjoying your reflections.
Your post about perspective reminds me of a book I am currently reading: “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor (http://youtu.be/GXy__kBVq1M). I am not completely done reading, but this book as changed my life significantly already! The author talks about many different studies & exercises that showed how perspective is key to happiness, and how it all relates to success. I invite you to take a look if you haven’t heard of this book yet. 🙂
There is one exercise that the author suggests that I’ve adopted: making a daily list of things you were thankful for. It really helped me in focusing on the positive things happening in my life daily, despite challenges that occur as well.
Best wishes for the rest of your journey to 40!
April 15, 2012 at 13:48
Thank you so much for your comment and for pointing me to that book. I hope to have the time to look it up soon! I like the idea of making a list of what you are thankful for – something that we could all benefit from! 😉
The Quiet Borderline
April 15, 2012 at 19:45
Thank you once again for the great post.
We can all take something positive from your posts, as usual 🙂
The Quiet Borderline
April 15, 2012 at 19:55
April 16, 2012 at 10:42
Nothing is ever quite what it seems and everything is a matter of perspective and perception – all of which can change unexpectedly for numerous reasons.
Great post, cheers!
April 16, 2012 at 11:07
Ah yes, one of the constant realities of life! 🙂