What's Your Lens?
Here's an interesting and short video about perspective (h/t: Kottke.org):
When you change your perspective, things can look very, very different. This is what empathy does for us. Just imagine how different our social, political, or economic conversations would be if we could take the position of the jump rope.
Part of what shapes our perspective, however, is our lens. Call it our upbringing, our background, our experience, our preferences - call it what you like. The truth of the matter is that each of us has a different lens through which we view the world. This lens then brings into focus what's important to each of us, thereby setting us out on a desired course.
Literal example: The lenses used by a microscope and a telescope are very different. Depending upon which lens you're using, an item will look very large and you'll notice fine details. Or, you'll see an object closer, something you couldn't really make out before. One will help you see a star better; the other will help you see a starfish better.
Application: Whether your lens is optimism, pessimism, hope, joy, skepticism, or pain (or any of thousands of other lenses), your view on the world will be different. Perhaps I'm not hopeful because I start businesses; I start businesses because I'm hopeful (in new ideas taking root, in the economy, in my ability to create something out of nothing).
Task: Through what lens do you see the world? When you encounter something new (an idea, a person, an opportunity, a news item), how do you respond? Is there a consistent reaction you have?
If you understand your lens, you'll then be able to align opportunities to meet goals and dreams you have. You'll know the right thing to look at in any situation and you'll respond appropriately. In short, you'll be able to navigate life if you know that you'd rather use periscopes than oscilloscopes.