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The Importance Of Perspective

Date - 10 January 2016/ Category - Facts Of Life
Facts of life

By the time I stepped off that plane the lightning bolt that had hit me about false idols and inexperienced commentators had placed a decision in my mind – I was going to think more about the reason behind everything.

Screw the media and their predefined perspective of events – from here on in it’s my way or the highway; even if that meant boring the socks off people.

The next time someone showed me something or asked me to complete a task I wouldn’t do it until I asked myself two simple questions.

a) Is this person a psychopath?

b) What’s their perspective?

A year on I’ve forgotten how a) was worked out, but b) still sticks in my head – in fact that very question sits behind every lesson detailed in this book. Perspective is the key to understanding everything.

Once you start trying put yourself in the shoes of everyone around you it’s remarkable the things you figure out. It’s like you’re looking at the world differently to everyone else; like Neo from the matrix but without the sunglasses.

Perspective not only makes you realise what’s driving someone’s point of view, but it can help you figure out their next move too – pretty handy if you need to make some extra cash.

Maybe your friend got promoted and you don’t know why your boss chose them over you, or you lost a business deal to a competitor but they had a worse product. Solve those little mysteries in life and you can plot your way to world domination, well on paper anyway.

Somewhere amongst the hustle and bustle of our fast paced world there’s a lens of perspective that removes the mystery of almost everything in life, everything that is apart from predicting the moves of psychopaths – it’s kind of part of the deal that they don’t really let on what they’re about to do.

Figure out how to read your staff members, superiors or client’s perspective and you’ll crack the secret of sales, marketing and management all in one swoop.

More often than not working out someone’s perspective is easy, but when you start out like most things it’s hard. Fail a few times but keep on learning and the wisdom you collect will make you start thinking you’re some kind of psychic.
Let me put perspective into a simple analogy for you.

“We spend more time being jealous of our neighbours new car than we do thinking about the impact on their spending of the huge loan he’s just taken out to buy it”.

Perspective would say it’s on credit and they aren’t going on holiday this year, but the love of the right now means you’ll ignore that possibility, assume they bought it from pocket change and still go online to see if you can buy one.

We love choosing to focus on a fact (e.g there’s a new car on their drive and I don’t see them visibly poorer) because something definite is reassuring and measurable.

The arrival of the car isn’t a hunch or a feeling like the perspective that there’s a gaping whole in their bank account. There’s no leap of faith required, no joining of the dots.

A leap of faith means something might not go to plan and lets face it, that’s bad for us, so we ignore it. We fear failure like the plague.

If we considered perspective, then perhaps our reaction would be different but sadly most people don’t.

But it’s not just our reactions that can benefit from a little bit of perspective, your business can too. If you can predict people’s perspective you can profit from it. For example as a reaction to the jealous reaction by neighbours of new car buyers, Mercedes once ran a marketing campaign where they sent out brochures to the neighbours of people who bought a new E-class. It turns out when you buy a new car the reaction of your neighbour is pretty predictable.

That’s the great thing about perspective – usually there’s only a few reasons behind someone’s actions and as a result only a small pool of possible outcomes too.

Become a grand master of perspective and the insights you’ll learn are worth their weight in gold.

Despite the glaringly obvious fact that reading minds is pretty handy, as a society we ignore the virtues of perspective and instead choose to get hooked up on the more exciting and obvious reality of “what’s happening right now”.

Even though there is an abundance of free material online, the communication revolution has gone hand in hand with an impatience for answers that means we are less likely to use that free material to do any research. Much to our eternal detriment we let an immediate need for a resolution, obscure the facts perspective has to offer.

As a result we don’t choose the logical path that perspective could plot out for us, instead picking the first one that comes our way and we suffer because of it.

Once the moment of crisis has passed we often say phrases like ‘with the benefit of hindsight” we would have done something differently; well I’ve got news for you. Hindsight is just perspective, but with a definite point of conclusion and a little bit too late.

If you’re going to deal in perspective you’ll always need to be prepared to fail. You could after all guess wrong, but that’s the benefit of hindsight, remember it next time and the wisdom you gain will help you get it right in future.

That’s why being able to deal with stress is so important. If you can’t deal with stress then your judgement will become clouded and you’ll forget about perspective.

Businesses spend too much time trying to over complicate life and the fact is if we just kept it simple we’d succeed much more often by learning a little bit about our customer’s perspective.

Perspective is a wonderful thing in business, you just need to learn to park your emotions to one side and think a little bit more in order to turn it into profit.

Chapter summary:

• Perspective is key to understanding someone’s actions
• If you can figure out someone’s actions in advance then you can plan for them
• Stress and emotion can cloud your ability to step back and view someone’s perspective
• People want immediate responses to problems – even if the immediate option is not the best
• People prefer definite actions to possible outcomes.

Read our next blog post “Two steps forward one step back”.