The Power of Perspective

Have you ever lost something in plain sight? You know, like looking for your phone when it is in your pocket, or losing your sunglasses when they are right on top of your head? It is definitely a frequent occurrence at my house! In fact, a couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to take Kyle to school and right when we were walking out of the house I went to grab my keys from their usual spot but they were not there. Trying not to alarm Kyle, who gets frantic at the thought of being late to school, I casually started looking in any spot I might have left them. As the clock ticked on minute by minute, I became more anxious. I retraced my steps. I looked in the same spots over and over— at least 5 times! But I could not find my keys. Kyle alerted me, “It’s time to gooooo!” and luckily, Skeeter’s truck was available to me for the quick trip. Hallelujah that Kyle was still on time to school!

When I got back home I was determined to find the keys. As I looked again in all the places I looked before, I decided to go back to the table in the dining room, where I set my purse down the day before. Even though I had looked in that same place multiple times, this time my approach was different. Instead of looking from the head of the table, I decided to look from a different perspective. I rounded the corner and moved around the table, changing my view. That simple shift in the way I looked at the table gave me a better view of the chairs. Suddenly, the lost keys appeared. There they were, right on top of one of the chair seats in plain sight! I had missed them time and time again because I was looking from the wrong perspective. I smiled with delight as I snatched them up and delivered them to the place they belonged.

In the 20 years I have spent educating and counseling people of all ages, I have frequently been amazed how a shift in perspective can free someone from the bondage of anger, sadness, or self loathing. Perspective offers clarity, drives motivation, grants patience and delivers peace. Perspective has the power to bring more success and satisfaction (S²) into our lives. Here are some suggestions for how to use perspective to become S² :

Clarity –  Are you missing something? Just like my keys were hiding in plain sight, is there something that could emerge in your view that was unseen before? If your situation involves others, try looking at the situation from different people’s points of view. Intentionally step away from your own view to be able to see all sides clearly.

Motivation– If your perspective is giving you a negative view, it’s time to shake things up. To find a perspective that can motivate you, try looking for a silver lining. For example, if I am unemployed and I feel like the job I want is out of reach, instead I can apply at a temp agency to investigate other job options in my field. Or perhaps the stumbling block of unemployment will become a stepping stone to more education or skills training. Perspective can motivate you to find previously unforeseen opportunities.

PatienceAre you willing to wait for what you want? Perspective can grant people patience. When I worked as a teacher and counselor in public schools, my schedule was rigid and I often started work at 7am and ended at 5pm. When Blake was 10 years old, I had the distinct impression that someday I would need the option to stay home to educate my boys. That impression stuck with me and motivated me to continue my education so I would have more options. I started a doctoral program in 2012 and it was a SLOW process that took hard work. The perspective that furthering my education would benefit me in the future, granted me patience and endurance. I graduated in 2015, retired from public education & started working from home. I had a flexible work schedule that allowed me to educate Blake from home the second semester of his freshman year and again for both boys when the CoVid 19 pandemic hit. What goals do you currently have that require patience?

Peace– When going through anything difficult, or trying to understand “why” something unfortunate happens, perspective can bring peace. I am a mom of two adult children. Needless to say, they have not always listened to my advice or followed my counsel. Watching them make decisions that I know will lead them towards heartache is the hardest thing I have ever experienced as a parent. Yet, the perspective that their decisions are not a reflection of me or my values brings me peace. The perspective that I know I have taught them correct principles for life brings me peace. Finally, if I try to see the situation from their perspective, it allows peace to reign over any anger or fear that would otherwise rule my emotions.

Perspective is a powerful tool for bringing clarity, motivation, patience and peace into our lives. If you are dealing with something difficult, I encourage you to shift your perspective. It just might be the “lost key” you’ve been searching for in your quest to become S²!