“As a man thinks…” Proverbs 23:7
Today as I look around at the changed view from our new office on Main Street, I am reminded of how important perspective is. Oftentimes a change in vantage point will either change our circumstances or at the very least, reveal our true condition.
I moved around quite a bit in my formative years, and in fact I went to seven different school buildings in four different cities during my K-12 education. While going to the smaller schools my perspective was that I was a pretty smart guy, well rounded and more acquainted with a variety of subjects and experiences than almost all from the small schools. Therefore, I believed myself to be somewhat of a mental giant.
Once I moved to Memphis, my graduating class had over 350 students in it (seven times that of the smaller school). It changed my perspective. I was no longer one of just a few smart students. There was a whole classroom full of them at least…in each grade. I was not an intellectual giant – I had been a “big fish in a small pond” – not a “whale among minnows.”
In retail I was taught to look at the facilities from a different vantage point each day. Look up at the ceiling tiles and lights…look down upon the kick plates…look in through the windows from the parking lot…look down upon my parking lot from the roof. That solitary exercise forces one to see things previously unseen.
As a newsman I have had to use that skill many times. Not only do I look at what a leader, school administrator or government official tells me…but more importantly what they don’t say. Looking through their eyes and from their position reveals their motivation, genius, corruption or incompetence.
Why are so many Blytheville residents angry and critical about…well everything? Why are the other Blytheville residents so offended when they hear anyone say anything other than Blytheville is perfect? Why do the same problems seem to never go away? All of these can be easily figured out by changing our vantage point and gaining a new perspective.
Then why don’t people change their perspective in order to solve problems or to get a reality check? It is because most people fall under one of the following groups:
The first group of people stay so busy with activity, not necessarily accomplishing much, that they find themselves as the proverbial hamster on a wheel. Mindlessly walking through life, like zombies, noticing nothing in their world (good or bad) but punching the time clock and paying taxes as required.
The second group doesn’t want to know the world at it really is, but rather as they wish it to be. (These people are naïve and hopelessly optimistic, but very seldom truly risk much.)
The third group has their “identity” tied to imperfect things (school, city, club, college, military), therefore, to admit the need to reform or change would be to admit that their own self-created identity is flawed.
The fourth group has not gotten the results that their hard work should have gotten them or they have lived a very difficult life and quite frankly have just given up with the incorrect belief that things will never get better, so why even try.
The fifth group gains great reward, either monetarily or through political power, by knowingly perpetuating the problems while publicly denying their existence.
The last group is the one comprised of people that are either not able to comprehend the problems or that believe they are powerless to do a single thing about them.
All six of these groups are in one way or the other, living a lie. The first group forgets that life is much more than mindless, furious activity and therefore they miss all the roses in their life’s journey.
The second group is self-deluded in order to escape the scary world they could make better, in order to live in the make-believe world of their own construction.
The third group is living in the past (high school/college/army was their glory days) or finds identity only in a group ([insert any name here] Club). The fourth group has lost hope in anything ever being better and their life is one big, fog of disappointment. The fifth group is made up of lying, exploitative, rascals that are the very worst of humanity. And the final group is the majority of people we know, possibly you. They are the ones that we all hope will arise and help change our world. It is precisely their wisdom, expertise, sweat equity and ideas that we have been waiting for!
We all feel tiny when our perspective is Andre the Giant, ugly when our perspective is a supermodel, dumb when our perspective is Einstein, poor when our perspective is Bill Gates, crime ridden when our perspective is Beverly Hills, uneducated when our perspective is Harvard…but when we gain a proper, true perspective, we see that we are much better off than we think. And a proper perspective allows us to see the solutions to our problems and many opportunities for our prosperity, success and happiness. It is true that the worst in us can be made better by what is best in us…but only if we have the proper perspective.