Movie Quote Thursday – Perspective
As some of you might be aware, I find the idea of “perspective” a particularly elusive and evocative concept. When we are given a healthy dose of perspective – either self-sourced or served up by others – it can make our heads spin and leave us bewildered. Lately, substantial opportunities to put some of my perspectives into question have come my way, and although disorientating, these instances do provide the perfect backdrop with which to promote contemplation.
So how do you define perspective? The dictionary defines it as “The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.” I read this to mean in order to obtain perspective, you must: 1) possess the capacity to view things in their true form – meaning you must have a contemplative and wide-open mind; you are able to witness the endless wonders in the world around us, rather than looking through a narrow viewfinder which presents things as your pre-determined minds wants to see them, and 2) Acquire a measurable amount of meaningful experience, with which you can justifiably measure the true relations or relative importance of things.
I often find myself trying to figure out how best to define “perspective” in real terms. Sometimes I ponder the definition while engaged in some mindless running, so my thoughts can drift unconstrained. Other times I notice, while engaged in deep discussion about business or life with kids or friends, being drawn towards the conclusion that most opinions, decisions and actions – since attributed to our perspectives – are rooted deep within us and not so open to loose interpretation. When that happens, I ask myself, “How open is my mind, really?” Do you also find at particularly important points in a discussion you are more ready to respond than to listen?
In life and in business we often hold onto our perspectives with a strong grip. Sometimes that grip is powered by a keen awareness of our particular way of looking at things, and sometimes a silent and subconscious force powers us. Either way, it is easy to apply a perspective sans objectivity to almost everything we do. The examples are endless. As we age, we rely on, and automatically project our experience onto, most interpretive interactions. Does doing so allow us to grow? Does perspective mean having an open mind or does perspective mean possessing enough experience to self-justify a closed mind?
I am fascinated by how a slight change in perspective can make things appear so different. We can still use our vast experience to be able to measure what is important to us or not, but when we view things through even a slightly altered lens, our perspectives can completely change. And if we allow ourselves to drift only just off our self-confirming paths, imagine the destinations time can lead us towards.
A few movies quotes on the thoughts come to mind on the idea of perspective.
“Free your mind.” –Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix
“According to the map, we’ve only gone about four inches.” – Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber
“You know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?” –Peter O’Toole as Anton Ego in Ratatouille
“We have good days and bad days and, at the time, we seldom know which is which.” –Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real