“Sometimes You Need Outside Eyes”
Lead Yourself Through Life: Perspective
This talk was obviously part of a longer piece of teaching, but I think it stands by itself as a great reminder that we often are too close to a problem to find its answer. When faced with a conundrum that appears to have you beat, try the following:
1. Attempt to gain a new perspective. Take a look at the situation through a different lens, or, as in the case with my 9 year old son, through someone else’s eyes.
2. Take a break. As I said in my book, A Month of Italy, sometimes you need to get away in order to get a way. This means that often, as soon as we break with our normal routine and take some time out, our brains, allowed the freedom to work on the problem in the background, will eventually pop out an answer. So sometimes, paradoxically, the best way to solve a problem is to do nothing about it for a while!
3. Seek new combinations. The late Steve Jobs once said that all innovation is really just creative combination. So ask yourself what new things you can mix together that have never been tried. Often the solution is not a stand alone thing, but rather a blending of a couple of your best ideas.
Live Your life with eyes wide open
Mark Twain once called himself a “prodigious noticer.” I love that phrase. It encourages us to make active observation a normal practice. When you look, really see. When you listen, really hear. Try to take in your surroundings in a fresh way, opening your senses to things you might be missing. And above all, live your life with eyes wide open.
So don’t scam yourself out of a rich and abundant life by seeing only what you are used to seeing. Remember these simple techniques and see and feel anew the world around you. Not only might it help you unlock answers to nagging problems, but it will for sure lead to the living of a richer and more fulfilling life.