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Arrow Tip #59: Change Your Perspective

I love the musical Hamilton. I've seen it twice. During my first attendance, I was in the nosebleed section with an obstructed view. The second time I was fortunate enough to be seated on the main floor and centrally located. Although I enjoyed the show the first time around, the second time was so much better. It was the same production, the same actors, even the same theater, but a totally different experience...more profound and enjoyable. This changed perspective allowed me to see the stage in a way that wasn't possible before. There were things that had obviously taken place in the previous show, but I wasn't aware of them because my view was skewed. I missed out on some of what was happening, not to mention key information.

Isn't this how life is? Our viewpoints and perspectives dictate how we experience life. An event that feels pleasant and wonderful to one person can illicit sheer terror in another. A single comment can float gently one moment and gone the next. But that same comment, depending on one's perspective, can stick around for decades, poking sharply like a burr against the skin. Whether we experience something positively or negatively isn't the only thing influenced by our perspectives. Likewise, we miss out on so many wonderful things and important information because of our obstructed views.

What can we do about this? I mean, aren't our viewpoints and perspectives the result of our life experiences? How can we change what we feel and how we see the world when we've got life experience showing us how things are? Isn't this how these perspectives get developed in the first place? Sure! But our life experiences are also the result of how we choose to view the world and the perspective we choose to maintain, even in defiance of other equally viable alternatives. Which is it...the chicken or the egg? It's both. And yes, I did say choose. Because even when we have no control over our seat assignments in life, we can still choose to improve our view of the show.

When I was sitting up in the rafters with a giant pole in front of me at my first Hamilton show, I found myself doing two things to improve my view. First, I noticed if I shifted my body just a little to the left, I could drastically reduce the barrier in my way and see a lot more clearly. Second, I periodically used the binoculars I brought with me just in case I needed them. This allowed me to take a closer look and focus more intently. So even in spite of where I was, I improved what was within my control to ensure the best experience possible under the circumstances.

It's important to differentiate between living in denial about where you are and shifting perspectives. These are not the same thing. The latter has the ability to say, "this is where I'm sitting now, but I know there's another way to see things that might result in a better experience." Burying your head in the sand doesn't allow you to see anything. That's not a perspective; that's a blindfold. I don't know about you, but I don't really want to fumble around and bump into more painful things than I need to. That's what happens when you put a blindfold over your eyes.

Shifting perspectives may require some creativity. It may also demand stretching a bit and force you to get out of your comfort zone. But the better view is well worth the effort. Better view, better experience.

We often have the option to change our view, but we'd rather complain or take on a victim mentality. Sometimes that feels easier or more effective in some strange way. But I would challenge you, as I challenge myself daily, to make an attempt to shift your perspective. You don't have to go from the nose-bleed section all the way to a front and center spot on the same day. That might be too far of a distance to cover all at once...although if you can manage it, you may find yourself in the VIP section partying a lot faster! But, if you will just shift yourself an inch or two in the right direction, then you'll notice an immediate improvement. You can be sure with a change in perspective, you will have a change of experience, and that can be good or bad depending on which way you choose to lean. For me, I prefer to lean into what I want to see and experience more of. I, for one, want to partake in the "greatest show on earth" even if Ringling Brothers is out of business. The show must go on.



  1. No matter where you are sitting in life right now, know there is another view available if you can just change your position. Notice what you can do to change your perspective and do it.

  2. Can you take on another viewpoint that is equally as true or compelling?

  3. Can you shift your thinking one inch in a better direction?

  4. Can you move to a completely different part of the theater right now? If so, do it.

  5. If you're feeling stuck and can't change your perspective, at the very least, be kind to yourself and acknowledge that there's a better view available to you whenever you're ready, but for now, make the most of your current perspective and love the view for what it is.



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