Our perspective, or the eyes through which we see, has a direct impact on our existence in the world. It shapes our thoughts, feelings, and actions according to a framework that is both conscious and unconscious. By learning to flip the script, we can let go of narratives that hold us back.
Perspective influences our view of human interactions at home and at work. When we interpret something a colleague has said to us, what do we make of their tone of voice, their mannerisms? Do we feel affronted by a request or honoured by it?
Each person’s life experience naturally leads them to view the world in a different way. Our beliefs about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in a social and moral sense determine how we interpret interactions or the intentions of others. We might identify with this worldview so strongly that we find it inextricable from our sense of self, that we are our perspective.
Perspective Can Change With Time
While this is of course true in part, it also glosses over the fact that, for the majority of people, our perspective is subject to change over time. The emotional upheaval of transitioning from childhood to adulthood tends to alter our perspective in a profoundly noticeable way. We come to find new priorities in life and, hopefully, start to view the world with a little more emotional complexity than we had previously been able to comprehend.
Once we are settled into adult life, however, developments in our way of viewing the world become more subtle and harder to pinpoint over time. In this stage of life, as we move into the world of work and responsibility, it is all too easy to get caught in the minutiae of the everyday. Taking time to reflect on ourselves becomes secondary to the business of maintaining a family or progressing in our career.
Rather than cleave too heavily to our current perspective, we can instead aim to question ourselves at every opportunity. Why do I think this particular thought? On what assumptions is it based? How has my experience led me to this conclusion? What if I’m right, or what if I’m wrong? When we stick rigidly to our own perspective, we close down ideas because they don’t fit our vision, shutting out contradictory thoughts. Instead of basing our sense of identity on a rigid, unflinching worldview, why not choose to identify with the act of questioning?
This doesn’t mean giving in to endless rumination or chronic indecisiveness, but accepting that, as human beings, any conclusions we come to are ultimately fallible, not to be held too tightly. If we do, then being confronted by new information that challenges our perspective will lead to frustration, anger and confusion.
Learning to question our perspective is learning to accept the shifting nature of life itself. It breaks ground for the green shoots of new ideas to emerge. By being open to doubt in our own worldview we embrace the truth that identity does not have to be static, and that we have endless potential for development.