Perspective is everything. It is the context we create and choose.
And here’s the thing: everything you experience will be experienced through context.
Pain is an exception, right? Nope, see for yourself. Every single experience will take place through a lens by which you see the world. Even evaluating your own experiences, or evaluating the lens itself, will happen through a lens of perception.
As human beings, this is both our curse and our gift. How we wield this ability can be the difference between continuous suffering, reaction after reaction, vs. feeling gratitude amidst great pain. Everything on that spectrum is available to us.
So how do we travel on that spectrum? How do we harness the framing around our own experiences for a better, more intentional life?
This page is a visual metaphor LAUNCHPAD.
There are many concepts, spanning different subjects across this site, that are relevant to the Power of Perspective. The visual metaphors below are a fun way of directing yourself to those respective pages as you train your own perspective. Some pages will be a single page with a helpful mental trick, while others may be an entire subject to broaden your perspective. Click around on the images below to explore the many destinations/tools.
The “Spaceship Control Panel” of Experience
Imagine that you’re an astronaut in the spaceship of life. As you have any experience, you can see a control panel before you. On this panel are a number of modules with dials and switches. These modules are like tools and tricks of perspective that you can use any time, in response to any experience:
***Click around on the image to explore these tools from around the site.***
The “Astronaut’s Training Ground”
Some perspective tools are all about building helpful habits, like higher emotional intelligence and awareness. To use the same metaphor, it’s like an astronaut’s training ground. Click around, and you’ll find more long-term enablers and skills that you can build to bolster the power of your perspective.
What Is the Power of Perspective?
How big is your lens?
Let’s take a couple of sample perspectives into consideration. In both scenarios, the same events occur, and two different perspectives are offered.
Through Lens #1:
“Everything seems to be falling apart around me. At the moment I woke up today, I stubbed my toe! And since then everything has gone wrong. At work, my boss gave me more tasks than I can handle. My spouse is upset that I didn’t put the groceries away when I got home. I’m so busy I don’t even have time to clip my toenails, which, OF COURSE, made stubbing my toe even more painful. God! I can’t believe it’s still throbbing! Everything is terrible!”
Now, let’s see through a different lens.
Through Lens #2:
“This morning I woke up and remembered what an existential wonder it is to be alive, even if for one day. The thought filled me with such awe and gratitude, that when I stubbed my toe, I found the pain laughable and curious. And anyways, I broke my arm once (what a vivid moment of mortality!)…I know this is nothing serious. At work, my boss gave me more work than I am likely to finish. She seems to trust me, and I’ll do my best. Thinking about my career over the years, it’s been a positive thing overall to receive more responsibility. In fact, I see responsibility as a privilege, even when it means small failures. My spouse expressed frustration about the groceries I left on the counter. Such a long and varied relationship makes us comfortable with holding one another accountable. I was tickled to have yet another reminder of our standards of cleanliness. Before going to sleep, I sat up in bed and reflected on the fullness of the day. My toe still throbbed, and I hadn’t even noticed. It reminded me this morning…remembering being alive. Hmm…maybe tomorrow I’ll finally choose to clip my toenails.”
Which life would you prefer to live? Both are the same life, in a way, as the same things happen to/around you. And yet, these lives are not the same at all.
So what is the power of perspective? The point isn’t gratuitous positivism. It’s choice.
It is the power that you have in every finite moment to choose – in the same way that you can compare and choose between these two scenarios – how to experience life.
- Map Crunch – This website lets you click a button for a random google street view location. What a fascinating roulette of world perspective!
- Native Lands and Land Mark– These maps overlay native people groups’ lands over our current borders. It’s a fresh, visual reminder that our world is not made of countries…it’s made of ideas. And many ideas came before the ones we live with now.
- Drake’s Equation – This perspective-widening thought experiment is famous for starkly showing the unlikelihood that we are the only life in the universe. HERE is an article about it. And HERE is another.
Awe can offer context and connection”
Google has some sweet interactive tools to do so!
Thanks to satellite technology and Google’s audacious mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we have access to detailed, interactive maps of entire celestial bodies. Click around and widen your perspective!
Powers of Ten (1977) – A famous video showing the scale of the actual Universe we live in. If you haven’t considered this before, it will change your life. 9 min
Cosmic Calendar – Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes us on a voyage across a metaphorical calendar: if a calendar year represented the lifetime of the universe… 12.5 min
The Pale Blue Dot – This famous video by Carl Sagan presents life and the Earth in a more realistic context. Insightful and poetic. 3.5 min
The Beginning of ‘Up’ – The famous first few minutes of Pixar’s ‘Up’ brings us to a swift awareness of death and life as inseparable. 4.5 min
Kurzgesagt – The Origin of Consciousness
A well-animated presentation of the evolution of consciousness.
Jill Bolte Taylor – A Stroke of Insight
A phenomenal story of her perspective dramatically changing as the result of a stroke.
Kurzgesagt – The Largest Star in the Universe
An incredible, visual representation of your real, actual place in the Universe.
One of the most popular books out there currently, Yuval Noah Harari wrote Sapiens to share insight into us, Humans, as a species. The writing will shake you to the bone, and the facts will change your mind dramatically. This is one of those ‘must-reads’ that makes history fascinating even for those who don’t normally enjoy history.
Your Lens is Yours. Own it.
Taking control of your perspective is your right. The ability has belonged to you since childhood, and as you grow in maturity it is more and more within your grasp. It’s part of taking responsibility in life.
Remember, your story is your life, and yours alone to live. You may always choose what brings you joy.