PERSPECTIVE, how awesome is it?
If it was one of your friends, it’d be that quirky, alternate mate with the cool ideas and fresh approach to life.
Perspective, perception, viewpoint; call it what-you-will, the power to look at something that’s around us with ‘fresh Eyes’, can be humbling and confronting and yet totally empowering.
It has the ability to not just change the way we literally see things, but how we feel about them and the meaning we make from them.
I’ve been feeling perspective’s pull of late, prompted funnily enough by a pop song and an art class.
Who would have thought!
Andy Grammer’s catchy chart topper ‘Fresh Eyes’ has got me singing those lyrics, ‘I’ve got these fresh eyes, never seen you before like this’.
Yes it’s about a girl, but these seemingly superficial words have got everyday applications I reckon.
Similarly, a new art class this week challenged me to see things differently, with ‘fresh eyes’ and not just because I’m trying something for the first time.
It feels like the power of perspective is all around me lately and the universe is slapping me about the face with it. I’d be silly not to listen.
So I’m going to take that on board and think big picture here.
The view from here
It’s probably fair to say that the way we view something, inevitably dictates our response to it; our emotional state and general well-being even.
Events all around us of a personal or public nature, can effect all aspects of our lives.
Feeling frustrated by work, bemused by world leaders and their actions or just hard-done-by in general, flipping the lens on life can certainly bring a new perspective and usher in change.
A change that could offer us more mental and emotional stability.
After all, a telescope round the wrong way can certainly provide us with a disturbingly different view of the world.
When viewing a piece of art, perspective matters; the shading, tone, colour individually offer something separate but combined, create greater meaning.
Life can be like this.
Fresh eyed philosophy
A branch of philosophy (which ironically I’m seeing in a whole new light lately) to offer us a ‘fresh eye’ approach to life, is Stoicism.
When we think of someone as ‘stoic’, we possibly conjure up an image of a balding professor who dabbles with Sudoku on a Sunday and gets about life in a seemingly emotionless state.
But there is much more to the Stoic perspective than we might think.
Stoicism opens up the possibility that we really need to take a realistic look at life.
Yes It can be hard, tiring and full of unexpected events. But whether we like it or not, the reality is we have very little control over anything external to us.
‘The only thing we can control is how we react to what happens.’ Stephen West
Yes, things would just be easier if the world simply adjusted itself to my version of how things should be, but that’s just NOT going to happen.
I’ve tried that for some time now, with absolutely no success (surprise, surprise)!
Stoics would say that, as intelligent beings we are innately capable of reasoning and as such, should use that ‘skill’ to full effect so that we might make the most of our life.
As an ironic sideline here, in choosing reason over emotion, we feel more in control of our lives – choosing perspective over short-sightedness you could say.
Keeping it real
So, if we are to sing along to the same tune and agree with Andy Grammer, that ‘It’s human nature to miss what’s under your nose’ then maybe his words will prompt us to remember that we are the ones who decide how we view something.
Our choice of perspective matters. Once viewed with ‘fresh eyes’, things can seem a little more realistic.
Stoicism “Emboldens us against the worst that fate can throw at us and reminds us that despite all odds, we will get through it.” The School of Life
Learning to accept the unexpected, the abnormal, the worst even and perhaps our life won’t be so burdened with hurt, anger, frustration and contempt.
Yes! The everyday little things can still get under our skin and drive us to distraction, before we even stop to think and rationalise them or view them with a fresh perspective.
As philosopher and author Mark Manson tells us “It’s not always easy to determine what those ‘little things’ in life actually are. Little things, when we’re caught up and fretting about them, often appear to be big and meaningful and world-changing in the moment they are happening.”
But maybe with rationality in our human makeup, we can choose a perspective, look at these ‘little things’ for what they are, and not let them distract us from the good that may well be right under our nose.
Perspective, may just have the power to change our world, should we choose to use it.