Perspective

Two boys were raised by an alcoholic father. One grew up to be an alcoholic and when asked what happened he said “I watched my father.” The other grew up and never drank in his life. When he was asked what happened he said, “I watched my father”. Two boys, same dad but different perspective.

Now read the following sentence:
A WOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN IS NOTHING.
Some of you will read this sentence as:
A WOMAN, WITHOUT HER MAN, IS NOTHING
Whereas some of you will read it as:
A WOMAN: WITHOUT HER, MAN IS NOTHING.
What about this one:
GOD IS NOWHERE.
What you pronounced the above…
GOD IS NOW HERE
Or
GOD IS NO WHERE.

Yet again, different people – different perspective but how you see the world will make your world too. Recently while looking down from a high rise building in Bengaluru, completely changed my perspective of the city. Though the people and the traffic were same, but the perspective was different. Same goes to all our problems. They can appear big or small, all depends how we see them and what our perspective is. ‘To one whose feet are shod, the whole world is covered with leather.’ We don’t have to cover the whole world with leather, just wearing our shoes can we walk wherever we like.

Dale Carnegie in his early Thirties decided to spend his life writing novels. He spent two years living cheaply in Europe and came with a book which he called ‘The Blizzard’. Then to his surprise his agent told him that he is not gifted nor talented for fiction. But instead of losing hope he just put a stop loss order on his worries and went forward from there to make a new start in nonfiction books. Glad he made that decision and look how successful and how far he went on writing nonfiction books. It’s all our perspective on how we see our loss. Either we will learn from them and make a fresh start, or we can do nothing at all and keep on crying for our fate. Later in his book ‘How to Stop Worrying and start Living’ he compared Napoleon and Helen Keller giving a perfect example of perspective. Carnegie wrote that Napoleon had everything men usually crave – glory, power, riches – yet, at St. Helena he said: “I have never known six happy days in my life”; while Helen Keller – blind, deaf and dumb, declared: “I have found life so beautiful.” Carnegie said if half a century of living has taught me anything at all, it has taught me that “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” We always must look up, only then can we see a rainbow.

In 1919 Walt Disney was fired from one of his first animation jobs at the Kansas City Star Newspaper because according to the editor Disney lacked imagination and had no good ideas. Later Disney acquired Laugh – O – Gram an animation studio which he later drove into bankruptcy. But putting his failures in right perspective Disney moved to California and began the Disney Brothers Studio, eventually creating Disneyland and winning 22 Academy Awards. Bill Gates first company was Traf – O – Data. Their product was a device which could read traffic tapes and process the data. But their very first demo failed because the machine didn’t work. His partner, Paull Allen, said: ‘Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later’. Only when their failure was taken in right perspective did Microsoft become the largest computer software company in the world. The best way of shifting our perspective is to see the big picture. For example, going to gym every day is boring but if we see the big picture of why we are going to gym i.e. to be more fit and appealing then we will find going to gym every day is not boring. Always see the big picture, our ultimate goal.

Economist Robert W. Babson in his true story as given in Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ suggested to Read History Books to get a viewpoint of the past and to see how trivial our troubles are in terms of eternity. He said ” The world has always been in the throes of agony, that civilisation has always been tottering on the brink. The pages of history fairly shriek with tragic tales of war, famine, poverty, pestilence, and man’s inhumanity to man. After reading history for an hour, I realise that bad as conditions are now, they are infinitely better than they used to be. This enables me to see and face my present troubles in their proper perspective as well as to realise that the world as a whole is constantly growing better.”

The best story about perspective is given in “Good Leaders Ask Great Questions” by John C Maxwell involves a General and a young lieutenant on a train in England after World War II. The only seats available to them were across from a beautiful young woman and her grandmother. After they had been riding a while, the train went through a tunnel where everyone was in total darkness for about ten seconds. In the silence the four passengers heard two things: A kiss and A slap.

Everyone had their own perceptions as to what had happened.

The young lady thought to herself, “I’m flattered that the lieutenant kissed me, but I’m terribly embarrassed that Grandmother hit him!”

The grandmother thought, “I’m aggravated that he kissed my granddaughter, but I’m proud she had the courage to defend her honour!”

The General thought, “My lieutenant showed a lot of guts in kissing that girl, but why did she slap me by mistake?”

The lieutenant was the only one on the train who really knew what had happened. In those moments of darkness, he had the opportunity to both kiss a pretty girl and slap a General.

Let me end up this blog by asking you yet another question.
How many straight lines are there in a perfect circle?
Without revealing the answer, I will let your perspective answer it for you.

Published by Harsh Pandey

A shapeless Pigmy searching for his own awakening. Otherwise, I am a master mariner, commanding merchant ships on international voyages.

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