Have you ever been on a hike up a mountain and marvelled at how far you could see? You’ve just climbed several hundred metres and now you can see the whole city you live in. Not just your street; but the entire city. You can see the downtown core, the industrial area, all of the different residential neighbourhoods, and even your own neighbourhood and all of your neighbours’ houses.
Have you ever flown to a different country and marvelled at how things are done differently than you’re used to? People communicate differently; people walk differently; the houses are different there; the way people buy goods is different. The differences may be subtle, but they are always present. These differences even exist between neighbouring cities or towns—although the may be less obvious.
Climbing to a new physical height gives you perspective. Witnessing other people living life differently than you’re accustomed to gives you perspective.
If you’ve ever felt stuck on something you’re doing, whether it’s a book you’re writing, a project you’re working on, or your day job—gaining some perspective is a good way to help you hurdle over mental obstacles that may be holding you back.
Gaining perspective can be hard when you’re in the trenches day-to-day working away at whatever you’re passionate about. Maybe you’re starting a business and every day you’re busy—toiling away trying to make that first dollar. Or maybe you’re writing a novel and you’ve locked yourself in your office to hammer out each consecutive chapter as you approach that finish line. Working day-in and day-out is sometimes necessary but it’s easy to lose track of why you’re doing what you’re doing and forget about the passion that brought you there in the first place.
Perspective allows you to step out of the difficult grind of implementation and view what you’re working on from the outside. Perspective let’s you see around the next corner or avoid the next mistake. Perspective helps you brainstorm that next great idea.
Commitment and hard work and perseverance are necessary for success but perspective gives you the foresight to make sure you take the right turns along the way.
Finding perspective isn’t always easy; not because you don’t actually have the time to go for that hike but because you are hesitant to give yourself permission to take the time to think. It doesn’t always feel productive in the short term to take a break and seek out higher ground but investing the time to gain that perspective pays for itself in dividends.
Perspective can come from a short walk with your dog around the block or it can come from a life changing trip in another country. I would argue that travelling around the world will give you more perspective than a walk around the block but both have their purpose; one is much more attainable than the other.
There are many things you can do in between these two poles to gain perspective. You can go for a hike a mountain; you can visit a neighbouring city; you can go scuba diving. Perspective is important but it’s also readily available and all around us.
Stepping out of the productive zone to seek perspective may be uncomfortable. You may not be able to measure any output from your break, but pushing out of your routine and seeking perspective is not only important; it’s necessary. Don’t make the mistake of keeping your head down until you’ve pedalled yourself into a dead-end. Spend the time to seek higher ground and draw out your map, to plan your route as you work towards your goal.