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Perspectives: Volume - I

“I am not what I think I am I am not what You think I am I am what I think, You Think, I am.”

Take a few moments for that to sink in and rest well with you and once so, to again blow your mind. Don’t we all do it, whether on a daily basis or at least at some or the other point of time in life. Credit where it is due – I came across this quote in one of Jay Shetty’s Podcasts, which he credits Charles Cooley for. Ever since I heard this for the first time, it just hit the right nerve and has stayed with me till this point.

We are so conditioned to taking external viewpoints and opinions from people, whether or not they matter, that we aren’t just taking them as constructive feedbacks, but rather living in the shadows of those opinions. We live within a perception of a perception and ironically that feels truer than the actual reality as this is a collective opinion, validated, stamped, sealed, delivered, imposed and adjudged. There is just one truth, just one correct approach, one right path, one true power, one-one-one … this whole onus on there being just one goddamn way has messed us all up. In order to stay in the ‘right lane’, we’ve all been forced to conform. Whether supported with logic or just thrust upon us, this ‘one size fits all’, approach has single-handedly killed more open-thinking, creativity, freedom of speech, ability to breathe easy, than any brute force in history.

It is about time, people in positions of power wake up and realize that life is all about perspectives – yes, plural, indicating there are more than one. It is on longer – ‘my way or the highway’, but instead ‘your way or mine, lets take the higher way.’ There is not necessarily One Truth, but several versions, each on the basis of the reference point you look something from. There is no doubt that your mind will open up once you let this become your default approach to any thing in life and condition yourself to believe that there can be alternative realities, different versions, multiple takes if you may, that in the particular moment your mind cannot even comprehend or imagine, let alone understand, debate, justify or refute. Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport – the choice is entirely yours.

What very few people understand is that there exists something known as “context”, which we as a society fail to take into account or consider when basing our opinions or making conclusions over a particular things, people or situations. Perspective can make two well-reasoned, well-meaning, capable people to look at the same thing in a totally different way. What you see depends not only on what you look at, but also where you look at it from. This is exactly what is referred to as ‘POV’, or for greater clarity – ‘Point of View.’ While seeing is believing, but truth depends on your point of view or frame of reference. One is always in a hurry to take in some stimulus, whether in the form of words, written or spoken, sounds, emotions, artwork or more and react to that in a straight jacket formulaic manner. Honestly, it isn’t even our fault, as we are brought up with this form of training and given these short-hand tricks or hacks as loaded quivers of arrows to launch when a certain situation arises. Challenging our perspectives can be difficult, as it requires us to confront our beliefs and question our understanding of the world. However, this process is essential for personal growth and can lead to greater empathy and understanding of others.

To throw up some cliches – we have all heard about the two-sides of the same coin analogy or the grass being greener on the other side and who can forget the ‘glass half-full or glass half-empty’ classic. These are nothing but alternative perspectives disguised in all subtlety. While the entire monologue up until now has seemed one of anguish, or a piece of literature, it is as practical as something can be and would strike a chord in any aspect of your life if you would just open your mind and give it an honest chance. Right from inter-personal relationships to academics; from financial results to political ideologies, from legal cases to bedtime stories, how a different perspective, an ‘alag nazariya’, if you must akes a difference is something you’ll appreciate once you delve deeper. Sadly, we fail to understand the underlying point to be learnt from these things and instead of opening our eyes, ears and minds for broader perspectives we categorize them like – generational gaps, intellectual barriers and even stigmatize them saying these aren’t our concepts but the western world is corrupting us, liberal thinking is a farce, a conspiracy. Let it simmer within you for a bit.

Perspectives have the power to shape our experiences and influence our thoughts and beliefs. They provide a framework for understanding the world and can either broaden or limit our view of reality. When we hold a narrow perspective, we limit ourselves to seeing only a small part of the world, and we may miss out on important information and opportunities. On the other hand, when we broaden our perspective, we gain a deeper understanding of the world and are better able to see things from multiple angles.

We often do not see things as they are but see them as we are. That is how hard wired we can be, but let the bird out of the cage and see the heights it can soar to. As promised above, each aspect of life can be seen in a different light or colour. The same financial result posted by a company could be viewed as strong, resilient, power-packed by the company, but may glaringly miss the estimates of a dime a dozen analysts anticipating these results with bated breaths. People belonging to the same region, religion, caste, bay subscribe to very different political ideologies and take drastically different takeaways from events of the past promises by their leaders of choice. Fights and arguments in relationships, right from a parent-child relation to a classic case of sibling-rivalry, an issue between friends and/or lovers or for that matter professional relationships often happen over trivial things but the core or root in each of those instances lies in the accountability of whose fault is it – which again draws its significance from opposite perspectives on both sides over the same event/situation, arising out of different intents, common context and diverse frames of references.

All-in-all, ‘Perspectives’, are a critical part of our lives, shaping the way we view the world. It is important to be aware of our own biases and to take the time to consider other perspectives. Doing so can help us to become more open-minded, compassionate and even gain a better understanding of ourselves. Would love to hear your perspective on this blog, this string of thoughts and there’s a reason I made this blog into a 2-volume exercise – to put these thoughts out, let them simmer, stir up conversations, receive feedback, introspect and come up with the next volume only post that. So, feel free to reach out, speak up and connect!

Until then...try and be more receptive, more empathetic, less judgemental, more accepting, open up your minds to other perspectives and above all, Be Kind!

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