The Power of Perspective

Last night I went to see a viewing of Dead Poet’s Society in memory of Robin Williams. The showing was put on by Bedford Film Festival and hosted at The Pad – a great night.

The part which particularly resonated with me this time involves the Robin Williams character, Mr Keating, standing on the desk to get a different perspective of the world, and then encouraging the boys to do the same.

As it happens, this morning I was reading ‘Mindfulness – A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ by Mark Williams and Danny Penman (which I would thoroughly recommend). The opening quote was,

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking out new landscapes but in having new eyes – Marcel Proust

The chapter talks about how we often get a different view of a situation with some minor change in circumstance, and this can happen in seconds. The example they use is seeing a landscape in cloud and then in sunshine – this happens quickly and can transform our experience. In a similar way, our response to someone can transform from fearing them to feeling warmly towards them, by a simple change in expression from a frown to a smile.

Viewing people, places and situations in a different light or from a different perspective can happen quickly and it can also happen with the passing of time. Think of something that really bothered or upset you yesterday, and then imagine how you might view that same situation in a month’s time. The impact of even quite significant emotions changes over time, sometimes we even get to laugh about things which at the time made us cry.

Changing your perspective can transform your experience of life, and we can do this consciously, as well as subconsciously. We can do this as a result of a change in circumstance – response to a smile or the sun, or as a result of time passing. We can also do this by choosing to look at things from a different perspective, from a different point of view, from another person’s point of view, from a distance.

This is a powerful tool if we choose to use it, and one which is unique to humans. What’s bothering you today which you could choose to view differently?