Perspectives, Pt. 5 - Our Need For Perspective

Perspectives is a series about just that - perspectives: how we view the world; how we process the information and events we experience in everyday life.

In order to self-correct we must first be self-aware enough to know what needs correcting. Self-awareness entails an objective view of how we personally think and operate, which leads to a greater empathy and understanding towards others with whom our views and perspectives differ.

The heart behind this series is to examine the power of perspective through blog posts, to help illustrate and open our eyes to the power perspective can bring. At some point, your perspective and mine will undoubtedly differ... and that’s the point. This is my take on it, what’s yours?


“In the hopes of reaching the moon man fails to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”

--Albert Schweitzer


Every day we are afforded the opportunity to choose perspective, or more accurately, to choose the perspective through which we interpret and approach all that life throws our way.

My goal for writing this series was to unveil the reality that perspective is present in every moment of every day. We can’t avoid it, we can’t remove it, and we can’t run from it.

Perspective isn’t an evil to destroy, or a malady to cure. Rather, it is the splash of color on a world full of black and white. It is the nuance that imbues personality and the spark that enlivens individuality.

Perspective is beautiful.

Why I Love Perspective

One of my favorite routines is to set aside time for the purpose of gaining perspective—both in the figurative sense and even more-so in the literal sense.

Living in Los Angeles, CA, we are constantly bombarded with people, activity, and noise. There is a visible and audible hum to the city; a perpetual motion that fills the atmosphere with life and energy. Seen in a different way, this can be distracting, overwhelming, numbing, and intimidating. If you live in a place like L.A., there is a very real need for getting some space. And there’s no better place to find space than by going up.

Finding those hidden gems of a quiet place overlooking the sprawling city below—or even the un-hidden gems such as Griffith Observatory—provides the space needed to gain a proper perspective on our own life. On the ground floor, our life is often filled with sensory explosion, yet with the entrance of space, the chaos turns into a serene, magical, and starry image of life being lived. The perspective from the vantage point above the city unveils a perspective of the reality of life in the city that is quickly forgotten, overlooked, or unseen when we remain in the action and the noise for too long.

These two pictures—(1) seeing the city on the ground floor in the action of daily life, and (2) seeing the city from a higher perspective with enough space to see it in light of the “10,000-foot” view—are both true, yet they tell drastically different stories.

One of the other areas where I am able to gain an upper-hand on my own perspective is when I’m literally 10,000 feet in the air… on an airplane.

Flying has a powerful effect. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed the most amazing ideas, breakthroughs, and connections seem to come to me while flying from one place to another. There is something about soaring through the clouds that produces amazing horizontal thinking, connecting disparate ideas from the corners of my mind, and finding symmetry and possibility in the ocean of complexities that is called “life.”

The amazing aspect of this experience is that it happens subconsciously—meaning, it happened without even being aware of it.

Both of these illustrations show the point that space can be a powerful elixir when it comes to viewing our own perspective. As the airplane example showed, the 10,000-foot view is helpful for connecting to our greater vision and overarching trajectory in life, seeing the scope of our work and the direction we are heading. The more pervasive view is the ground-floor perspective of daily life that sees the tasks to be accomplished and the short-term goals to press toward. Space is one of the best tools for gaining a more objective view of our inherently subjective perspective.

While there are many other tools for gaining perspective (feedback, debate, reading, listening, reflecting, meditating, sleeping, etc.), the more important discussion is why.

Why Perspective Is a Priority

My goal in exploring a handful of different perspectives on common experiences we face in life is to show that we always hold a perspective yet we often aren’t aware that there are other perspectives, or that those other perspectives often have as much credibility as our own.

Whether it be your default personality as a be-er, do-er, or think-er, or how we think about opportunities as something we “can” do versus “should” do, or in emphasizing the journey instead of the destination, or in seeing the beauty/calling in standing out—all of these are ideas that can be viewed in many different ways. These posts are meant to expand your awareness of your own perspective, and begin to increase your awareness of your personal perspective in other areas of life as well.

Perspective needs to be a priority for each of us because (1) it's universal, and (2) it's messy. It’s universal because every single person has one (a perspective); it’s messy because perspectives are never truth themselves, rather they are a person’s view of truth—an interpretation of the truth.

When things become messy, usually what we go after is clarity. We want to clear up the mess and gain an understanding of the right path forward. We want to know the answer. We want to live a life absent of the messiness of being human. It is a good desire, but an almost impossible reality.

Messy means tension, and tension means a place of unrest—not being afforded the luxury of camping out on one end of the extreme or the other; having to marry two unreconcilable realities, the ultimate balancing act.

The Balance in Perspective

While we must admit that we have an individual perspective—which means we recognize our own fallibility while granting a measure of validity to others' perspectives—we also must strive for conviction in our own views, ideas, and beliefs—the perspectives that we have as a result of what we believe. We need to believe in something and know why we believe in it and be committed to that belief, all while understanding that others' have the same right/obligation. This is the see-saw between conviction and humility, the tottering between self-confidence and self-awareness.

Not only is it a balance of conviction with humility, also it is a balance between the big-picture and small-picture. Let me illustrate what I mean.

One of these realizations recently came when trail-running on a path above my new home in Glendale, CA. A favorite recreation of mine is to find the most adventurous trails with the best views overlooking the city, to scratch both my exercise itch and my nature/beauty itch at the same time. Yet, every time I run these types of trails I’m struck by an inner-tension of two competing realities within my heart. On one side I want to push myself physically, expending maximal effort to increase my anaerobic capacity and reap as many benefits from the workout as possible. On the other side I want to soak in the beauty of my surroundings and take as much time as possible gazing into the stunning landscape sprawling beneath the mountain ridges.

Within this tension lies the balance. If I spend too much time looking at my surroundings, I’m liable to stumble over a rock or a hole in the trail that I didn’t see; or, at the very least, be forced to run at a much slower pace to accommodate my lack of focus on the task at hand. If I spend too much time looking at the trail and what’s immediately ahead on the path in front of me, I can end up running the entire trail without ever appreciating or enjoying the scenery of the place I chose to run.

This is the balance we face in perspective on the macro level versus the micro level—the big-picture versus the small-picture. The point is: we need both. This is an active awareness of perspectives power, and a beautiful dance of enjoying both sides of the coin during the times we are afforded them. Just like trail-running, we will need to maintain the micro-perspective for the majority of our time in life. Yet we must never avoid, exclude, or lose sight of the massively important macro-perspective, the fuel for our vision, and the motivation for our daily pursuit of the goals set before us.

Seasons

There is much more to come in the vein of perspectives. It is a topic I have surprisingly found myself infatuated with, and I don’t see this interest dying down anytime soon.

In light of that, this series has been the first of at least two (if not more). Season One is officially coming to a close in order to give myself some space for devoting ample time to my impending book launch, but there will be a Season Two to come!

And in the vein of seasons, seasons themselves give us a perspective that we can benefit from in many ways… but I think I’ll save that one for Season Two ;).


Speaking of perspectives, my first book highlights just that! It is titled:

From Here to There: A Quarter-Life Perspective On The Path To Mastery

This book is simply: my 25-year-old’s perspective on what pursuing excellence entails. It is a depiction of my experience in traveling down the road to mastery within the game of golf. In it, I share stories and lessons learned from my time as a professional golfer, and then apply those concepts to the broader pursuit of mastery in everyday life.

I would love nothing more than to share this story with you and for you to get a copy of your own. It will be released this October, but the preorder will be available in the coming weeks! Stay tuned for more updates ahead.

My “ask” of you is to help me support this book’s launch. It has been a long journey (over 18 months!), but the real work has only just begun. In order for this book to reach the hands of people who don’t know about it, I will need your help, your partnership, your assistance in sharing it with your community. I simply can’t do it on my own.

Please consider partnering with me in this way during the months ahead—it would mean the world to me.

— Thane

When Your Dream Hits A Dead-End

Perspectives, Pt. 4 - In Defense of Standing Out