Perspective Matters …

Perspective matters …

Not just because of who or what we are looking at, but because of who we are as well.

Three lens interact to produce what we think we see:

The Objective Lens:

What some would call the tangible, visible, reality of a person, event, or thing.   What we can see, feel, touch, taste, or smell and which has a certain core essence which different people might agree on.

Most people would perceive the same thing as we do.

Our Relationship Lens:

The viewpoint from which we see that person, event, or thing.  We see our family differently from our friends, our friends differently than our societal peers, and strangers differently from those we know.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but we can see the same reality and interpret it differently based on how well we know the person.

Our Perceptive Lens:

We place a value on what we experience based on our background, culture, ethical stance, political and religious views, and whatever other beliefs we bring to the table.

What is a terrible tragedy to one person is another person’s salvation.  Every game has losers and winners.

Usually all three of these lens are in action at the same time, but in varying strengths.  The trick is always to know which lens you are favoring at a given time and how that may affect your thinking, feeling, and acting. 

None of the lens are innately negative or problematic.  We do that with our interpretations and thinking habits, which in turn affect our emotions and our behavior.

How can you tell which lens is affecting how you view a person, event, or thing?

How can you balance your lens to create a useful perception?

Wondering whether I’m being realistic, ethnocentric, or just plain prejudiced in the Heartland ….


Fooling Everyone …

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

… unless you are a politician, in which case you try and try and try…

Author Unknown     Often misattributed to Lincoln, no real record can be found of him saying anything resembling this. It became so commonly attributed with him in the late 1800s, when the quote began appearing alongside Lincoln’s portraits.

Of course, you only have to fool some people at a time to make a nice living:)

Does this well-known and often misstated quotation mean that we can fool people, as long as we don’t try for a perfect “10”?

Is it okay to fool people, since it’s possible to do sometimes?

Can you think of an actual instance when ALL of the people were fooled about anything?

Now what do you make of all this?

Trying hard just to fool a few people for a couple of minutes in the Heartland ….


Live Dangerously … Be Yourself

“It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of someboy else’s life with perfection.”

“Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.”

“Much better to do one’s own work even if you have to do it imperfectly than it is to do somebody elses work perfectly.”

The Bhagavad Gita (various versions)

Well, whichever version you prefer, the message appears very consistent – just get out there and be the best “You” possible.

Do not try to emulate others whom you admire.  Adopt what you value.

Do not try to live up to other’s needs or desires.  Meet your own needs.

Do not set yourself up with unrealistic goals or expectations.  Do your best and then relax.

Now … doesn’t this really take some of the load off ?   Who knows, you might even find that being a perfect You is easier than trying to be a perfect someone else:)

Chilling out in the Heartland ….


Income Comes, Income Goes …

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.”

 Albert Einstein Letter to Time Magazine (22 February 1963). 

Three reasons why Einstein is probably right:

1)  A very large cottage industry has grown around both the creation of taxes in general and the avoiding of taxes in general.    This is observable in the complexity of the rules around simply paying some of what you earn to support general government functions.

2)  Taxes seem to us an individual thing, because each of us pays individually. However, taxes are not personal – they are collective.  Therefore the tax code covering income taxes has to cover all of us, not just each of us.

3)  Most people I know hate income taxes, even as they acknowledge the need for them.  When you do not like something and you have little or no control over that thing, you do not have much motivation to understand it.

Paying income tax hurts, is not under our control, and involves complex rules.

Trying hard not to cry as I think about paying income tax in the Heartland ….


Go Ahead … Complain Away:)

I am feeling very magnanimous today, so I give my permission.

I know that our modern life has many frustrations and aggravations.    We are usually expected to suffer these discomforts and indignities in silence and are often encouraged to “grin and bear it.”

However, I also know that venting is good for stress relief, so go ahead and complain about …

How long you had to spend at work today … to someone who has looked for work, any work, for years.

How much food costs when you like steak … to someone who cannot afford meat or maybe even food.

The never-ending line of fix-it chores around your house … to someone who lives on the street or in their car.

The yelling and screaming of children … to someone who cannot have children or has lost a child.

What a pain your spouse is …. to someone who has never experienced  or has lost the comfort of a long-term love relationship.

How expensive gas still is … to the person who has to beg for a ride to get to job interviews and medical appointments.

How hard it is to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise … to the person who is facing the end of their life.

The time it takes to cast your vote … to the person who underwent severe deprivation just to live in our country.

How annoying your mother or father are when you go see them … to the person who would do anything for one more visit with theirs.

Your cell phone reception … to the person who cannot afford a phone and gets calls at the shelter or a neighbor’s house.

How torn up the house becomes when everyone comes over … to the person whose house is never visited … by anyone.

There, now.  Feel all better?

I could go on, but you all are smart people … you get it.

Not EVEN opening my mouth to complain in the Heartland ….