Keeping perspective

“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.” George Elliot

Do you ever lose sight of the forest because you only see the trees?

In my world, this means I focus on the challenges in front of my face: the flat tire, the frozen pipe, the broken promises. It means groaning over the blistered hand, the sore muscles, or the long waits.

I wish the list stopped there, but I can also lose my perspective when I focus on opinions and try to sort out what side of an argument I need to be on.

A friend of mine tells me he keeps his mind open by going through a mental exercise roughly summarized liked this:

Imagine a blank piece of paper represents everything there is to know about a subject. (ANY subject, from knowing grammar, to politics, to the mind of God and the workings of the universe.) Next, draw a circle to represent how much you know about the subject. Depending on your level of expertise on any given topic, your circle may be small or large.  However, unless your paper represents knowing the letters of the alphabet, your circle is going to be a subset of the piece of paper.

Do you see the implication?

Even if you're a subject matter expert, there will be pockets of knowledge you don't possess. Whenever I get too attached to my opinions, I try to remember this exercise.  I try to remember the world is bigger than I understand.

This video provides a great perspective.

How do you keep a broader, wider view of things you don't know?