Day 12. It has been a few days since I paid proper attention to the latest COVID-19 news. Although Jacaranda is always on in the background, my main aim is to hear news on the secret sound (who doesn't need R100,000?), and if we will all be on lockdown past the existing 21 days. No news yet so we will keep looking ahead and pray for the best outcome.
It made me realise again how perspective can play such a significant part in our lives. Our perception of any event, circumstance, or even a person, sets the foundation for our emotional reaction and physical response.
The Cambridge dictionary defines it as such: perspective /pəˈspek.tɪv/ a particular way of considering something.
My mother raised me to always see the other side of an argument, or of another's opinion. I always assumed this was just polite and the way everyone approaches life. Through my 20 odd years in the corporate environment, I was constantly reminded to always consider different perspectives, and realised how few people can actually consider more than their own perspective.
It was not until 2014, when Master Coach Christian Simpson, on a trip to Orlando in Florida, showed me an example that my 4-year-old daughter (at the time, she is 10 now) could understand.
I assume you have seen a beach ball before? Well if you have not, here is a video with a beach ball.
And... wow you have seen a beach ball.
Simple, yet powerful. When you hold the beach ball in front of you, with arms stretched. You see at most two colours. So if asked "What colour is the ball" You would name the two colours that you can see (let's say red and yellow), and you would not be wrong. But neither would you be right. Rotate the ball 180 degrees, and all of a sudden the ball is no longer red and yellow! It is now, red, yellow, blue and white.
Did the ball magically transform in front of your eyes? No. The only thing that changed is your viewpoint. Your perspective.
We often laud leaders who have the ability to look at a situation objectively (as opposed to subjectively). This ability means that the leader is able to assume that there is more than one perspective (more than one way to look at the ball).
Can you look back at your day and identify situations where different perspectives are resulting in different experiences? Of course you can! The world we live in today, is so far removed from what it was in 2019.
A pandemic is sweeping the world, and depending on your perspective, how you experience the current almost-worldwide lockdown may not be the same as your neighbour.
If you live in Alexandra (densely populated township bordering Sandton), you are angry because you cannot go to work. You have zero savings, so no-work-no-pay also implies you do not eat, and neither does your family. If you do not work, you cannot buy airtime to talk to your family in Limpopo to see if they are ok. The dangers and challenges faced every day make COVID-19 seem as mild as a hangover. Your attitude towards government measures is likely one of defiance.
<<<<< Shift the perspective
Hop on a taxi (during their permitted operating hours of course) and pop over to Sandton. In a 5 star fully serviced high-rise with a bellboy and valet parking. Your food is delivered by a concierge service that delivers essentials (all organic, and grown with love) to your door in a disinfected container. You have Netflix, DSTV, and a hi-speed internet connection to video chat with friends and play stock market while waiting out the lockdown. You believe this is essential, and if it can save a few lives, well worth it.
Two very different perspectives.
The ability to change your perspective, and to view ALL perspectives in a situation, is not always easy. But a good leader (not a boss, a father, mother, brother… all can be leaders), has the ability to take a step back, listen to other viewpoints, and consider all factors to make wise decisions.