My good friend, Tim, attached his flat screen television to one of those cool wall mounts – the kind that allows the screen to be turned to the right or left – and installed it on the wall. He then sat down and watched a movie. It worked just fine.
Then Don came over. The moment Don walked into the room and looked at the television, he said to Tim, “Oh, that won’t work.”
Since Tim has already watched the setup operating perfectly, he had no idea what Don was talking about… until Don sat down on the sofa and smiled at Tim. At that point Tim knew immediately what the problem would be.
You see, the couch is positioned at a somewhat “L” angle, perpendicular, from the television. As such, one person on the sofa can watch the television, positioned where it was on the wall, without any problem. However, if a second person joins the first person on the couch and they both want to see the screen, there would be a problem… unless one of them is very short.
The simple fix: move the television up about 18 inches, which is what he did. With the exception of the holes that now needed to be filled, it was no big deal.
Because Tim was affixing the television to the wall with one perspective in mind – that of his position from the recliner – an eye-level placement made perfect sense… to him.
Tim gained the perspective of someone who has never seen his television from the angle that he has always viewed the screen, and who has only viewed the TV from an angle different from the one familiar to him. This elevated Tim’s view of the situation and made him realize he needed to elevate the screen.
The obstacle blasting analogy here is obvious. We are all limited by our own perspective of whatever it is we happen to be looking at or dealing with at any given time and situation. Unless and until something or someone introduces something new, some new information or point of view, it is not only easy for us to assume that ours is the right perspective; it is a given that we will think ours is the only perspective.
This is why elevation is always required.
But do you really need to experience such a powerful visual queue in order to adjust your thinking to become more inclusive of other peoples’ points of view and perspective? Of course not. In fact, this article is your reminder to make it a habit to put yourself, and keep yourself, in a state of curiosity …
- I wonder how others might see this thing differently
- What do I think of as wrong that other people see as right – and vice versa – and why might they think that way?
- How do I know I am right?
- I wonder what I might have in common with people who see things differently than me in politics, in religion, in lifestyle choices, etc.
One individual’s own perspective tends to be limited to their personal knowledge and life experience. This is indeed a huge limitation because almost all of us work with, and/or live with, others. When that limitation is coupled with a delusion of infallibility (the idea that My outlook on things is the only outlook to have and, therefore, I am pretty much never wrong), it represents an impassable obstacle to personal growth.
Instead of assuming everyone sees things the way you do, make it a habit to ask quality questions that elevate your thinking above and beyond your perspective. It is safer to assume that everyone sees things differently than you, and that they have a good reason to do so, than to assume everyone agrees with you because you think there is no reason why they wouldn’t.
My good friend, Tim Paulsen, is a real estate expert in Pierce County, Washington, with Home Team NW and he embodies the qualities this article promotes. I do not know a more patient and inclusive person. He is one of those rare people who lives his convictions with consistency. He is a pretty cool guy not despite being tried by plenty of fire, but because of various hardships he has overcome with flying colors. I am so glad to know, and be influenced by, someone as kind, and as sensitive to other peoples’ perspectives, as Tim. — Jim Aitkins
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