I’ve written about perspective before. Mostly in regards to photography, and recognizing that there are always multiple “right” shots.
While on a recent vacation, I was able to marvel at the rising and setting of the sun over the lake every day. Facing east, the sun is always visible as it rises. However, watching it set is not on option, unless I take a short drive. But the hues of a setting sun do reflect on the lake, and I can often see it reflected in the buildings on the other side of the bay.
On one especially calm evening, I decided to take the paddleboard out at sunset. Taking a cell phone on a paddleboard on Lake Michigan is a bit of a gamble, but a lanyard and a plastic sandwich bag assuaged my anxiety and off I paddled.
The lake was so calm that I decided to venture out, rather than hugging the shore as I usually do. I cannot over exaggerate how smooth the water was. Not a boat in sight. No people, no noisy jet skis, no barking dogs (that’s another story in itself). Nothing. The only sounds were from my paddle as it sliced the water and gentle lapping on the bow of the board. It was so serene that I decided I would sit down and snap a few shots.
As I unpacked my phone from it’s sandwich bag, my board had shifted with the slight current so that I was facing due west. And what a sight. Looking at the landmarks I had only seen in the full light of day, now dark with shades of pink and orange glowing above from the setting sun was definitely a perspective I had not anticipated.
Then it struck me that this visual change of perspective had a similar effect that shifting a mental perspective can have. While it’s a general understanding that “looking” at a problem or issue from a different perspective can often yield options and solutions, I never had a visual image of what that meant.
Of course, I thought to myself, “This is going to make a blog post.” We’ll see.
As cliche as my point is, we all need reminders from time to time. And in in the work we do–no, probably the work everyone does–we need to remind ourselves once in a while that the solution isn’t always what’s is in front of us. In this case, what was literally behind me as I set out on my initial mission became a source of inspiration.