December 1

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The Power of Story Part 6 – What’s Your Perspective?


Einstein QuoteI recently attended a college football game at Texas A&M University (A&M) where my son is attending.

I was not familiar with A&M prior to my son visiting the school. I have come to love, admire, and respect the school as one of the great institutions of higher learning in our country.

The school was founded in 1872 as part of a federal land grant which required it to provide military training to its students. The school remained a military college until the 1960s when it became a state university. It was opened up for women and minorities to attend and no longer required all students to receive military training. However, in honoring its past tradition, the school kept the Corps of Cadets as a student organization operating like a military school within the larger university.

Outside of the Army, Naval, and Air Force academies, A&M has the largest ROTC detachment of any school in the country.

A&M football fans are extremely loyal, and Kyle Field (their football stadium) holds over 100,000 people and most games are sold out. The seats I purchased were in the upper deck behind the end zone.

The Value of a Higher Perspective

We had a bird’s eye view of the entire field. I was able to see the hole open up in the defensive line as the running back veered and headed that way. I was able to see receivers downfield who were open that the quarterback could throw to. Although we were far away, I could see everything across the entire field.

A&M was winning substantially, so we decided to leave a little early. As we walked down, we stopped and looked out at the field from the middle terrace, and then later from the lower terrace. What struck me was that the view and the feel of the game were completely different. We were certainly watching the same two teams play. However, it felt like a completely different game.

The Energy and Emotion in The Moment

There was so much energy and emotion as you got down closer to the field. It was really exciting. The emotions were practically palpable. However, we couldn’t see everything that was going on like when we were up high.

The point of this story is that perspective changes everything.

Albert Einstein wisely said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

So, how does this apply to life?

Every football team makes mistakes during a football game. Sometimes, they are easy to spot, and other times they are not. However, most teams record the game on video from a high vantage point that allows them to see the entire field. What players and coaches can’t see while they are down on the field, the coaches that are up high recording the game can see everything. To teach the players how to learn from their mistakes, they watch game films.

Taking a Different Perspective

Let’s apply this to midlife. Let’s say there’s a situation at work where you are forced to work with a co-worker you dislike on a project that is important to your boss. Your co-worker is so annoying to work with because they are all talk and no action. You feel like you’re going to have to do all the work, and your co-worker will try to take credit.

You feel like just telling your boss to let you do the project by yourself or being dismissive or disrespectful to your co-worker. You can’t see the bigger picture because you’re down on the game field.

Now instead, imagine that you are in your manager’s position or his manager’s position. How would you view things? Would you see things differently?

Perhaps you would see that doing your best to cooperate with your difficult co-worker and making sure that the project is done well is the best thing for you and your company. You might also see that over time, your co-worker’s “all talk, and no action” approach would eventually become apparent. The project may have been a test by your manager to see how well you can work with difficult people or a test of your co-worker’s lack of contribution. You might even be able to understand that your contribution can become your source of satisfaction instead of waiting for praise from peers or managers.

Here’s the Midlife lesson:

We live our life on the game field where all the action, energy, and emotion take place. We often make mistakes because we don’t have a higher perspective. However, if we take time to reflect on the situation and view the story from a higher vantage point, a higher level of consciousness, we can see the right thing do.

Here’s the Mighty Challenge of the Day:

  1. What is one situation that is currently causing you a lot of aggravation, frustration, or negative energy?
  2. Spend five minutes thinking about the situation from a higher vantage point.
  3. Think about it from someone else’s perspective who is in a better position to see the situation from a logical and rational point of view. What would that person tell you to do?
  4. Imagine it is a year from now and you are looking back on the situation. Imagine that the situation has completely worked out to your benefit and you have become a better and happier person because of it. What would your future self tell you to do right now?

Bruce Fleck

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