The Power of Perspective – My Word for January

by | Jan 5, 2024

The Power of Perspective – My Word for January

 Have you ever read the book, Zoom, by Istvan Banyai, or seen the video? It’s short, and there are no words, only pictures that take you from a farm to a ship, to a street and more, and each page reveals something new and unique to the reader. In some cases, the “something new” is small – a tiny new detail – and in others it’s an entirely new location that you probably would never have imagined. I love reading Zoom because I always notice something I hadn’t previously seen.

 I used to give this book to corporate clients when we worked on branding and marketing campaigns, and now I share it with men and women who are navigating their way through divorce and want to do so with intention and awareness.

 What do those seemingly unrelated topics have in common? Perspective. I believe it is almost always beneficial to view a situation – whether it’s marketing a product or service or looking to resolve a communications impasse – from a different perspective.

 Oxford Languages dictionary defines perspective as:

  1. the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point. “a perspective drawing”
  2. a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. “most guidebook history is written from the editor’s perspective”

 Synonyms include outlook, viewpoint, standpoint, and position. Other definitions are “a particular way of considering something (Cambridge English Dictionary), and Merriam-Webster says it’s “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. (Trying to maintain my perspective.)”

 I chose perspective as my word for January to remind myself that all situations, experiences, my understanding of what’s happening, and hence reality, is always shifting. Importantly, these things don’t just happen to us, we get to choose our perspective, which is part of why it’s such a powerful tool.

 In a recent New York Times article, The 7 Keys to Longevity, “Cultivate a positive mind-set” is number seven. The article notes that optimism is associated with a “lower risk of heart disease, and people who score highly on tests of optimism live five to fifteen percent longer than people who are more pessimistic.” I know how hard it can be to find something positive during a divorce, and that’s exactly why and when we need perspective! I know first-hand that the crushing weight of grief, change, disappointment, and anger, will feel different with time.

If you aren’t consumed by the conflict at hand, use it to your advantage. Take the time to think honestly about your spouse / ex’s point of view and why he/she feels the way they do. Can you see it, even if you don’t agree with it? Can you find aspects of it that you can live with to find compromise and move forward? I’ve seen time and again how one person’s attitude shift can positively impact the process, but that can’t happen if neither person is willing to move from their position.

If you’re struggling with how to find common ground in a difficult situation, consider watching the Zoom video together before your next discussion. Choose one or two things you might be able to see differently, even if it’s only a slight change. How could you act on that new perspective? It can be quite freeing to realize how much power you have to influence outcomes when you are thoughtful about it! (Hint: do this for yourself only. If your spouse/ex can do it, too that’s great but not required. One of the most challenging shifts that needs to happen during divorce is the awareness that you cannot control the other person’s behaviors, you can only control yourself.)

 I love that perspective is an infinitely renewable resource. I chose it as a word to focus on this month, but perhaps the best thing about perspective is the fact that a new one is always available.