The Law of Perspective

If you give a man the job of sharpening pencils, then sharp pencils become the most important thing in the world.

We can use this “law” to ridicule someone or to blame/shame them for being “short sighted” or “pedantic”. Or we can use it to understand why they see something as more important than we do. Perhaps the risk officer sees the risks in greater magnitude than the sales person, perhaps your spouse sees the simple act of letting them know you will be late as being more important than you do.

Whatever the conflict, it is inevitable, because we all see the world through our own perspectives. (see previous post – “we see the world as we are..”)

It is combat that is optional.

You can fight about it, throw blame around and even try to shame people. Fighting though, has rarely, if ever, changed someones beliefs. It is much better to try to empathise, to show some compassion.

In simple language, go around to their side, see it from their perspective and accept that perspective as valid for them (Acceptance is not spelt a-g-r-e-e). Show that you have an understanding (“I understand,” as a statement is not enough!) by demonstrating that you see the facts that they see.

Once someone feels understood, they are much more likely to try to understand your perspective and you have opened the door of influence. After all, the most important thing someone can do for you is to try to understand how you see things, isn’t it? That is the art of compassion at work, treating someone as you want them to treat you.

At Think Gray we help people to create the conditions that empower flourishing.