Overcoming Your Perspective Crisis

“We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviors grow out of these assumptions.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

Have you ever been angry or upset with a situation, only to learn later that you had made an assumption about someone’s motivation or their world that was wrong? You expended unnecessary time and energy based on a perceived slight. Are you living your life harboring hurt?

Tragically, assumptions and misunderstandings happen in all types of relationships; between friends, family, lovers, co-workers and even someone you know only casually. It is easy to assume that the person with whom we are interacting has all of the life experience, and information we bring to the table; when in fact they are not privy to either our thoughts or personal perspective.

Remember there is always another viewpoint.

The famous story of blind men touching an elephant is a classic example. The story goes that six blind men lived in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant was. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Each of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and each insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said.”

“Oh!” everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

You are not blind, but you must remove the blinders of your assumptions. We must accept another’s perspective. Once we have seen the world from their viewpoint we can begin to let go of our hurt of pain from the misunderstanding and move toward our goals and dreams.

 

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