Changing perspective

When change is gradual

My nickname growing up was Bookworm.  I was generally found with my nose stuck in a book (and still am to be fair!).  For this purpose my eyes were perfectly adequate for the job. 

At school, as you got older you moved towards the rear of the Assembly Hall (younger kids at the front, older ones at the back).  By the time I was at the back, I just assumed that not being able to read the hymn words on the OHP at the front was normal.  After all my eyes worked fine when reading a book.  I reasoned you didn’t actually need to read the OHP because by then you’d learnt the words off by heart.  I had justified my perspective.  The change had been so gradual I hadn’t noticed it happening.

Life was a blur

One day we went to see a stage performance at the college my brother was attending.  I was sitting next to my mum and she was talking to me about one of the characters on stage.  I remarked I couldn’t actually see who/what she was talking abou.  As far as I was concerned everything was blurry.  Off we went to get my eyesight checked and discovered I was short-sighted. A rather unattractive pair of glasses with fairly thick corrective lenses soon followed.

Even though sight is one of our primary senses I never questioned why I couldn’t see things in the distance clearly.  If people waved at me from across the street, I’d just wave back assuming I knew them despite not being able to see their faces.  The way I saw the world, my perspective, was the way I saw it. 

True blue

In a similar vein, I recently saw a clip where a family gave their Dad a gift, a pair of colour-blindness correction glasses.  He was by then in his 60s or 70s.  He put the glasses on and saw the colour blue properly for the first time in his life, he was overcome with emotion.  

Unless you have the opportunity to see the world through a different lens, how would you know what a different perspective might feel like?

The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.

Yousuf Karsh – portrait photographer

Your own personal lenses

Now I know not everyone needs glasses.  This doesn’t mean you aren’t seeing the world through your own personal “lens”.  We rarely question whether our view, our perspective, of the world is the same as other people’s.  Why would we?  How we see things is how we see things.  We are programmed to trust our senses.  We say “I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes!”.  Yet we are unaware of the “lenses” we’re seeing life through.  Maybe you view life through rose-tinted glasses.  Maybe you effectively wear sunglasses all day long and the world seems like a very dark place

Soon it’ll be Christmas

A recent example of this was the mixed reactions to the latest John Lewis Christmas advert.   Every year I well-up to these “feel-good” ads, so when this year’s one was released I looked it up online.  I saw various comments ranging from those who loved it, to those saying the ad wasn’t “Christmassy” enough, it was just a publicity ad for Elton John, or suggesting it would have been better to show the “real” Elton John with all his human failings.

Curious to know more I watched the advert.  It does trace Elton John’s rise to fame, but in my eyes this was secondary.  The lens I viewed the ad through came from my own personal history.

Once upon a time…

Whilst I was a single Mum I stayed up until midnight to bid on a piano for sale on eBay.  I was so happy to win this piano for £50 because there was no way I could have afforded even renting a piano at that time.  I’d wanted to get my young son something that would last, something that might inspire him and spark his creativity, something he could return to again and again.

This is what I saw in the advert.  Not only a move away from the throwaway culture we have developed, but something that encapsulated a parent’s hopes for their child, not to mention the hope that one day we might, just might, give our child something that lasts a lifetime.

My son didn’t continue with piano lessons in the end, but will still go and sit at a keyboard and while away the hours learning new songs via YouTube.

We all have lenses we see the world through.  These colour our perspective of other people, ideas and events around the world. 

We can only hope to begin to open up our perspective if we accept another’s lens, another’s perspective, can be different to ours.  This is something which can be achieved through coaching.

If the world you see before you worries, disappoints, angers, or seems empty to you, maybe it’s time to try on a different pair of glasses. 

Let’s go find them together…

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