Have you ever looked at a sunset and questioned if you were seeing the sunset? This probably seems like a ridiculous question. We don’t typically second-guess what we see with our own eyes. But how do you know you aren’t looking at a sunrise instead? When we see the sunset, our eyes (and senses) send a message to our brain, which then processes the information with our previous knowledge and experiences, and formulates our perspective; thus identifying the sunset. This happens without our conscious brain realizing it. What we don’t pause to consider is the sunset is also a sunrise. It’s a matter of perspective; to one observer they’re looking at the front of the sun and to the other they’re looking at the back. Every day we see the world around us through our experiences and our experiences shape our perspective.
I recently helped a friend find clarity on the mission and vision of her new non-profit. Part of her dream is to provide better accessibility, give a voice and bridge those in the Deaf community with the Hearing community. Going into the meeting, I thought I understood her mission. Regardless, I was equipped with questions to help her get focused. As she shared her story with me, I realized how limited my perspective regarding her experiences was. Up until that conversation, I saw her, and her mission, from my perspective. I hadn’t previously thought to ask her how the world she experienced looked different from her perspective. Seeing the world from her viewpoint was truly a humbling and eye-opening experience. My perspective has widened.
The conversation with my friend made me reflect on all the opportunities we miss to see things from a different perspective. How often do we look at a situation and think, why won’t they just…? Why are they so…? Or it seems so obvious to me…. We see the world around us from our perspective. Unless we intentionally seek to experience something different or ask a lot of questions to learn from someone else’s experience, our perspective is limited. Our lives would be more enriched and our relationships would be stronger if we would slow down and get more curious in all situations. When we seek to look at a situation from a different perspective, we see differently.
Perhaps today, find an opportunity to seek a different perspective.