Change your perspective, change your life

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
14th Dalai Lama
1935 –

A while back, I received an interesting email that showed a picture of a frog. Anyone that looked at it could plainly see the picture was of a frog. But then a funny thing happened: the picture rotated 90 degrees and suddenly, the frog was a horse. Anyone looking at the picture in this position would immediately and conclusively know they were looking at a horse. So what happened? The image didn’t change one bit. The only thing that changed was the perspective.

You may be wondering what this has to do with life; the answer is: quite a lot. Our brains are actually programmed to identify objects and to put them into categories. This is an extremely efficient technique as long as we correctly determine the proper category. Unfortunately, in life, things aren’t always like they seem.

We often make snap judgments about people, places and situations in life, and once we’ve made that decision, we don’t examine our underlying assumptions to determine if we’ve made the correct classification. We hold on to our original view, even when presented with new information. We only see the frog.

We also let others influence our views. We put too much emphasis on what others, particularly the media, tell us, rather than figure out things for ourselves.

We often need to view things from a different perspective. By reframing our view, we can see things in a new way: in the case of the picture, we can now see the horse. We can find solutions that were not apparent before. Likewise, we can see potential dangers before they become disasters.

So here’s my advice on looking at things from a different perspective. Form the habit of questioning what you see, read and hear. Here are some good questions to guide you.

  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • Could there be a different way to look at this?
  • Am I assuming certain facts or outcomes that may not be true?
  • How can I turn this situation to my advantage?
  • What lessons can I learn from this that will benefit me in the future?

And here’s a link for you to view the picture of the frog and the horse.

If you change your perspective, you will change your life.

Many people, I imagine, could attain wisdom if they were not convinced they already had it.
c. 4 B.C. – A.D. 65

Copyright © 2009 John Chancellor

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