Five Steps to Perspective
May 7, 2012 by
Categories: Miscellaneous

Ok, will you take 5 minutes and try something with me?  Awesome.

We will break this down into steps so we are both on the same page:

  1. Ok, take one of your hands and raise it in the air with your arm stretched out like you are waiting for your teacher to call on you to answer a question in class.
  2. Very good!  Now, with your hand still raised, make your hand look like it is pointing at the ceiling.
  3. Good form!  Ok, this part might take some thinking…look up at your pointing finger and start rotating your finger clockwise.  Pretend like you are drawing a circle on the ceiling. (Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to start rubbing your belly counterclockwise at the same time.)
  4. You are a pro at this!  Alright, keep watching your pointer finger move clockwise.  While still moving your arm/hand/finger in a clockwise motion, slowly start lowering your hand toward your belly button as if you are guiding your finger down a long spiral staircase (you will probably need to bend your elbow for this).
  5. Keep moving your finger and observe.  What direction is your finger moving now?  Still clockwise?  Or is it now turning counterclockwise?

If your finger is still moving clockwise, go back to step one and try again.  If you observed your finger now moving counterclockwise, bazinga!  You did it!

Now, you might be asking, “Lauren, why did you have me do this ridiculous activity?”  Well, work with me here.  Look at what happened.  We first created a situation (i.e., the finger in motion above your head) and then moved the situation to a different perspective (i.e., next to your belly button).  The situation from above your head looked one way (i.e., finger turning clockwise) and the same situation from below your head looked similar but opposite (i.e., finger turning counterclockwise).

This might be a silly exercise, but look how it applies to real life.  We often get into arguments based on who is right and who is wrong.  Well, according to what we just learned, the same situation can look different from different perspectives.  We all come together from various backgrounds and it is these backgrounds that form our perspectives.  So, if two people are arguing and one is looking up at the situation and adamantly claiming one truth and the other is looking down at the same situation and claiming a different, or even, opposite truth, who is “right”?

Well, here is my challenge for you (and let all the weight of the word, “challenge,” lay heavy here): the next time you find yourself in an argument, instead of insisting on you being right, try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.  For just 5 minutes, be adamant about that instead of your own agenda.  See what happens.


Image by Alan Levine

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