Our perspective is how we view the world; how we see our own personal reality unfolding in front of us. Many things impact our perspective including where and when we grew up, the influences of our parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors, and our experiences throughout our lives. These factors feed into our beliefs about the world and our perspective, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all support what we believe.
According to Shawn Achor, “A vantage point is defined as the point from which you observe the facts you will use to create your reality” and when we can add vantage points, we can see new perspectives. In his book Before Happiness, Achor also tells us that “the simple act of adding vantage points can significantly increase your ability to see new valuable details, which, in turn, broadens your perspective and helps you find a broader range of ideas and solutions”. This may mean walking around and looking at things from a different angle, asking questions to learn more about the situation, or even trying something for the first time.
Sometimes, we feel unable to see the other person’s perspective. We cannot understand why they act the way they do or how they could possibly believe what they believe. When we find ourselves in this type of impasse, it can be very helpful run an experiment and act as if we believe what that person believes. In that instance, we would imagine what we would feel, think, and do based on the belief we are trying on. This can be an eye-opening experience and can help us not only understand where the other person is coming from, but also determine how to move forward in relation to the other person.
This technique of trying on a new belief is also very helpful in our own internal patterns. When we uncover a limiting belief that is keeping us stuck in some way, we can add a new vantage point by imagining what we would think, feel, and do if we believed something different. For instance, if my limiting belief was that I have nothing helpful to share and I could never write a blog, I would just keep my musings to myself, never learn how or where to post blogs, and live my life believing that my perspective isn’t helpful. However, if I really had the desire to change that limiting belief and I acted as if I believe the opposite- that my perspective is helpful and that I can indeed write a blog- I would experiment by imagining how I would think as a blogger, what I would feel while writing, what might be helpful for others to hear, and I would explore how to host a blog online. This experiment would help me to see that what I previously thought was an impossibility for me is actually achievable. My perspective and belief could both shift and I could also experience a new identity as a blogger.
Recently it seems that differences among us have been highlighted and the flames of opposing each other have been fanned. Perhaps this experiment is a way for us to connect and to see things from the perspective of others so that we can come together rather than moving apart. Perhaps this is also a way to empower ourselves to overcome the stories that we believe about our own abilities and desires.
So, this week, how can you add vantage points to see things differently? What limiting beliefs might you have about yourself or others that could possibly shift by running an experiment to see how you would think, feel, and act if you believed something different?
I will be experimenting right along with you.
Chat again soon,