I remember the first time I truly understood what gaining perspective meant. I was on a hike, pushing myself up a steep trail, my legs and lungs burning. As I reached the summit, something happened. My entire city spread out before me. From there, I could see it all—the downtown core, the suburbs, even my neighbourhood, now just a tiny patch in the vast urban landscape.

It hit me then. This view—this perspective—was changing how I saw my daily life. The problems that had seemed so overwhelming that morning now looked tiny. It wasn't that they disappeared, but I could see them as part of a bigger picture.

This experience got me thinking about other times I'd gained unexpected insights. For example, when I traveled to a small town in another country and saw people going about their day so differently from what I was used to. The way they communicated, the rhythm of their day, even how they bought groceries—it was all subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) different. It made me question assumptions I didn't even know I had.

These moments of expanded perspective have become crucial to me, especially when I'm deep in the trenches of a project. I remember a time when I was starting my business. Days blurred together as I worked, chasing that first real success. I was so focused on the daily grind that I nearly lost sight of why I started this journey in the first place.

During a forced break - my laptop died, and I had to wait for a replacement - I gained some much-needed perspective. Stepping away from the constant doing allowed me to see the bigger picture of my goal. I realized I had been so caught up in immediate tasks that I'd neglected long-term strategy. That unplanned break, as frustrating as it was then, was significant. I've found that these perspective-shifting moments sometimes require grand gestures like climbing mountains or international travel. Other times, it's as simple as a walk around the block. Other times, it's a conversation with a friend who works in a completely different field, offering viewpoints I'd never considered.

I won't lie - it's not always easy to step back. A part of me feels guilty when I'm not actively "producing." I've learned that taking time to gain perspective isn't a luxury or a distraction - it's a crucial part of the process. Whether I'm writing, working on a new project, or tackling challenges in my day job, these moments of expanded vision have often been the key to breaking through obstacles.

I'm still learning to balance the need for hard work and perseverance with the importance of seeking new perspectives. It's a constant dance, but I've found that my best work, most innovative ideas, and happiest moments often come after I've taken the time to step back and see the bigger picture.

So now, when I feel stuck or overwhelmed, I try to remember that summit view. I remind myself to seek out those moments of perspective, big or small. When we step away from the narrow focus of our daily grind, we can see the path forward most clearly.