Posted by: Simon | April 13, 2008

It’s all about perspective

Many of the issues we confront, the opinions that we form and the decisions we make rely heavily on our perspective. I was reminded of this while watching the new animated film, Ratatouille, with my children. The combative food critic, Anton Ego, implores the nervous waiter at Gusteau’s to “serve him some fresh perspective!” “Some, errrr, what Sir?”

How often should we order a serving of fresh perspective in our daily lives, particularly when things appear to be going awry?

At a recent work off-site our facilitator begged us to consider that in any given situation there will be multiple perspectives to acknowledge. That’s right. Not just yours and one other, but multiple. If two work colleagues are trying to take an issue forward they will each have a perspective. So too will their peers and so too will any subordinates, supervisors and even customers. He explained that it’s important to remember that our perspective is influenced by any conscious or unconscious biases that we have. Taking an issue forward therefore involves acknowledging these biases and consciously stepping through all the other perspectives in one’s mind in search of understanding.

What does that mean for this blog?

Well, Free Flow Life will discuss issues around happiness, simplicity and productivity. Many people and blogs already do that. I know. The key is that I will be writing from my perspective and with my biases. I ask you, the reader, to therefore consider my perspective along with your own and the many others that doubtless exist. Agree with me. Disagree with me. Either is okay as long as we take our understanding of the issue being discussed forward.

What might influence my perspective?

I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the obvious and less obvious attributes that might influence my perspective:

  1. I’m a husband
  2. I’m a father
  3. I’m an uncle
  4. I’m a son
  5. I’m an Australian
  6. I start each day before many people in the world (GMT +10)!
  7. I’m right handed
  8. I live in the Southern Hemisphere
  9. I’m a Capricorn
  10. I’m almost 40
  11. I commute from the country to the city each day
  12. I’m a tennis player
  13. I count 13 as a lucky number
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Responses

  1. These are interesting things that you have chosen to highlight. I really think it is fascinating that you are in Australia. I really love getting your “down under” perspective on things. I have wondered if life is just more “easy going” there than here in the US where we are all running like rats in a maze trying to find the cheese.

    OK here is my list:
    1. I’m a Christian and that is very important to me
    2. I’m a wife
    3. I’m a mom of two teenage boys (the most difficult job I have ever had)
    4. I’m a daughter
    5. I’m in an exciting journey to be fully alive
    6. I’m creative
    7. I’m a science nerd
    8. I’m an educator/entrepreneur
    9. I’m a sister
    10. I a patriotic American
    11. I’ve very conservative
    12. I’m 48 (but I look really good!)
    13. I have scars from life
    14. I’m passionate
    15. I’m in the absolute best part of my life.
    16. My spelling sucks in spite of my education!

    So that’s me!

  2. Great one Laurie. I think it’s fascinating that you’re creative AND a science nerd – I always imagined that we had to be one or the other!

    The interesting thing about making such a list is it could potentially be very long. I could add heaps to mine. These attributes all shape who I am, what I think, what I say and what I do. They are the basis of the perspective I have on things. I also know now that to understand someone else’s perspective I must try to understand a little about them. “Why does Fred think that way?” It’s not always easy but I like trying.

  3. Yes, I am a bit strange. I think the science thing encourages the creativity. I am interested in things in nature which causes my creative juices flowing. I’m really very right brained. The science thing has been interesting in that many people assume that because you are a science teacher you are not a person of faith. I get into the evolution VS creationism debate regularly arguing my perspective with both hard core evoultionist and Christians alike. It makes for an interesting time.

    I think my character and experiences play major role in my perspective. I raised an extremely difficult son (now 18 years old). I have also gone through some major difficulties with my marriage. But because of my commitment to both my son and my hub, we are in a wonderful place right now. The son is doing well and the hub and I have never been better. These experiences (and others in life) affect your perspective. Your character will also play a roll in your perspective.

    But I believe the most influential piece that will affect your perspective is whether or not you have had some chocolate that day! :O)


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