While I was surfing the internet I came across the above image; it was interesting to see the different perspective of two men. This image demonstrates that our perspective is important than the situation. Much like the image, our perspective determines our approach to problems in our professional and personal lives.
I remember reading a fable where a group of blind men touch an elephant to guess the object. Each one feels a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar. The one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope.The one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch. The one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan. The one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.
Our approach to solving a problem is much like the blind men. Our perspective blinds us and fails to look at the problem differently. Consider the example I cited in my previous blog post on creative and critical thinking about how Edmond managed to pollinate the vanilla flower for the vanilla pods manually. Edmond had a different approach to solving the same problem which was unsolved by the French Colonists for many years. While the French colonists would have considered it as two disparate ideas where one solution cannot be applied to the other, Edmond proved that wrong. History has shown more often that having different perspectives of a problem help in arriving at a creative solution. Read more at phenomena.nationalgeographic.com
In the book ‘The Alchemist’, a merchant sends his son to a wise man to learn the secret of happiness. When the boy arrived at the palace and explained the reason for his visit, the wise man asked the young man to take a stroll around his palace and return in two hours time. However, he handed the young man a tablespoon in which he poured two drops of oil and asked him to ensure that the oil does not spill while taking the stroll.
The young man began to climb and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed in the spoon. At the end of two hours, the young man returned to the wise man, who asked him about the beautiful tapestries and garden in the palace. The young man confessed that he had seen nothing as his only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted him.
The wise man then asked the boy to go and look at wonders of his palace. The young man with the spoon took a stroll of the palace again. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the Palace and other beautiful wonders. Returning to the wise man, he reported in detail all that he had seen. But, the oil drops were missing in the spoon. The wise man tells the young boy that ‘The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.’ Story Source – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
When we face struggles in our life, the human tendency is to focus on what is wrong rather than what
is good. This tendency makes us less optimistic in dealing with our problems. When the problems are approached with a positive perspective, it will help in calming the mind and the problems may not seem as hopeless as it did before. Once we can start finding some form of joy and pleasure even with the struggles and losses of life, the beautiful things around us that may have slipped by unnoticed appear to be more meaningful and significant.
To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks the real advance in science. – Albert Einstein