Perspective on perspectives

People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them. – Epictetus

Some thoughts on perspective:

A perspective is often defined as a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something, it is also referred as a point of view.

So to me, my perspective is how I choose to see the world, it is the way I construct my opinion of things. Most of the time I forget that what I see and interpret is in the context of a perspective I take, and I falsely believe that my judgement is true.

It can not be entirely true because every perspective is right and is wrong at the same time. Let me explain this by describing my garden table on which I write this article. From my sitting perspective, the table is a table top, a fairly large wooden rectangle. But obviously the table is not only the table top and should I sit on the floor I would see the table from a different perspective, with a different geometry and new information would come and complement my understanding of what that table is. Same would apply by looking at the table from the side.

So any perspective is right in a sense that it is a description of the whole and it is wrong in the sense that it is not the whole.

Most of the problems we encounter in our life are much more complex than considering what a garden table is. They have many dimensions, consequences both intended and unintended, they have a temporal dimension and are continuously changing, not like my garden table.

So, when we would most need to use the flexibility of our mind to explore the many aspects of our problem, we tend to take one perspective, define the problem in that single perspective and seek a solution from the context of that perspective as well. In most cases, it doesn’t work very well and we get stuck in one perspective exerting more effort than we should and going nowhere in terms of addressing our issue.

As Albert Einstein rightly said “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

But for most of us, when we face a problem, we dig deeper into our perspective and somehow hope to find the keys to resolve it.

In the work with my clients, I remind them that the way we look at things makes a difference, and looking at your situation from a different perspective will always bring new information which might either solve the problem or even reframe the problem not as a problem but as an opportunity. Uncovering new perspectives, changing the way you look at something will have an enormous impact on your experience of the problem, it might not only change your cognition but also certainly your emotions you have about that problem.

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