How often have you heard, or said, that someone needs to ‘get a little perspective’ or ‘change their perspective’?
I recently pondered the concept of ‘getting a little perspective’ as I was sitting an enjoying a demolition derby.
Now, the English language can be a bit imprecise, so let’s start with a little dip into what exactly that phrase means.
In photography it’s a phrase that means exactly what it says – to literally see, though the camera, something from a different angle: get up high, get down low, move around to another side of the subject, or simply zoom in or out.
In common parlance, as with so many things, it is not quite so clear cut.
If you are trying to console a distraught friend then you may say it in a particular way in an effort to help and support them with whatever issue they are grappling with.
If you are trying to win an argument with a particularly stubborn or aggressive adversary then you may say it in a particular way to insult and intimidate them in an effort to terminate further discussion.
Whatever the situation, there are times that a change in perspective is truly the best option.
We all have our opinions and our opinions are formed by our experiences and our experiences are largely the result of choices made based on our opinions… which are formed by our experiences… which are largely the result of choices made based on our opinions… … … … … …
You see where this is going, right?
In the interest of saving electrons by not typing that eternal logic loop out into infinite loops, let’s borrow a little math magic. Just like 3.14157 can be represented as Pi, let’s abbreviate the logic loop looming just above this paragraph as ‘personal biases’.
Okay… calm down. Don’t go getting’ your knickers in a knot. We ALL have them. They are (mostly) nothing to be upset about. And personal biases are not all bad.
Whao, nelly! Okay, let’s settle down there and ‘get a little perspective’! ;)
Allow me to explain.
Ever met someone who won’t even TRY seafood? Not because of allergy… just because. That’s a personal bias about things your friend asks you to eat that look (and sometimes smell – though true seafood lovers don’t eat that they can smell) like they were dragged out of the water after an extended period of time in said water.
Here’s the thing - not eating it because of said bias ain’t hurtin’ no one. Technically it is benefitting all us seafood lovers by leaving more seafood for us. ;)
(I will kindly ask that you pardon the onslaught of double negatives buried in that paragraph and just roll with it so that we can keep this blog moving ahead.)
Let me give you another example… riiiiiiiiiiight after I enjoy this tempting platter of clams on the half shell.
Okay, folks… welcome back to our program!
So, where were we?
Oh, yeah – get a little perspective… personal bias….
We recently attended the demolition derby at the local county fair. Lots of smashin’and slammin’ and all sorts of crunchin’. It was some good ole’ distraction style fun.
Well, we thought so… but, as it happens, not everyone agrees. (Go Figure!)
BUT THAT’S OKAY!
One of my friends had a few words to say about the concept of a demolition derby.
I get it. It's not everyone's cup to tea.
His specific concept of a demolition derby is based on his personal bias which is based on his perspective which is based on his experiences… (okay – we’ll call that a sentence so as to not have that ‘wasting electron’ kerfuffle again.)
For those of you still hangin' in there with me on this, allow me to put forth a slightly different perspective on demolition derbies.
If you are a car owner then you probably get a little upset if your car gets a scratch.
If you are a car owner then you probably get your car services reasonably regularly to keep it running nicely.
Strictly speaking, apparently not.
Look, I’m certainly not going to tell you to stop taking care of your car. It will last longer and you’ll be much happier with it if you care for it.
Look at these cars!
Really look… at the dirt flying off the tires (or rims, as the case may be) which means…
Pieced together from scraps, absolute bare minimum parts, rusted, dented, twisted… and getting worse by the second!
And they are still running!
Think of the ingenuity of the folks driving them who pieced together these beasts and got them to last 45 minutes while being… well… destroyed!
And they’re still running!
They are leaking things, they are smoking, more parts are dropping off with every hit...
And they’re still running!
These precious machines that we (myself included) baby and buff and polish and poo-poo over when a teensy-weensy wittle rock makes a tweensy-weensy wittle bump.
They’re machines! Amazing machines!
Machines that can, and have, run from hither to yon for decades, were smashed and tossed in a scrap yard, and then reassembled, revived, and tossed in to this cauldron of mayhem…
And they’re still running!
These intricate pieces of machinery can take all of that beating and keep running! Think of the engineering that can take that kind of beating and keep working!
THAT is AWESOME!
THAT is why I enjoy the demolition derby… I am in total awe at the durability of these amazing little machines (and honestly the determination of the drivers) that we take for granted EVERY SINGLE DAY.
So you go give your car a spa day!
Wash it, buff it, and poo-poo over it. It deserves it!
Go beat the livin’ bajeebuz out of it! It can take it!
Your choice, really.
Just depends on your perspective… which is, after all, just the result of your past experiences. ;)