How You Can Find the Missing Piece Through Perspective

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear…

I remember staring out the car window at that message a lot when I was a child. I couldn’t understand how something could possibly look closer to me than it actually was. I considered myself a logical person, so something was either there or it wasn’t right? Was the object closer to me if I turned my head and looked at it without using the mirror? Of course not; I was missing the main point, “appear.”

It wasn’t until I was an adult, and I revisited my childhood memories that I realized that things never really changed sizes. Instead, it just “appeared” that way based on the perspective of looking at things in the mirror. I also discovered, as a result of adulthood, that I can be pretty closed-minded at times and lack perspective in other areas of my life.

The Perspective Puzzle

During the COVID-19 lockdown back in April, my wife and I spent a lot of time working on jigsaw puzzles.

Our process looked something like this: First, we would finish the border, then we would work our way to the center from the outside. We each had our “regular” chairs on two perpendicular sides of the table, and we’d work on the puzzles from these chairs most of the time.

But, sometimes, I would get stuck and couldn’t find any pieces that worked. I found it quite amazing that when I got up from my chair and walked around to the far side of the table, all of a sudden, pieces would reveal themselves to me.

All I needed was a different perspective!

Seeking the Silver Lining(s) of 2020

I’ve heard many people complaining about the year 2020, and how others can’t wait until it’s over.

While our business has suffered, and I know a lot of other businesses that are hurting or even closing shop, I can’t help but think about all of the good things that have come out of such crazy and seemingly negative circumstances.

Here are a few that come to mind:

  1. My parents are more digital-savvy than ever. They even know how to Zoom!
  2.  The focus on buying local has never been more apparent! People all over are doing what they can to support their local businesses.
  3. Backyards have not had this much attention for decades! And the businesses that make backyards more enjoyable are thriving!
  4. Traffic is less congested. With so many people working from home, our roads can breathe again!
  5. Family time is at an all-time high in our lifetime. We’ve been forced to slow down and spend time with each other, and it’s good!
  6. People wash their hands now…
  7. Innovative people have taken this opportunity to reinvent themselves with a product or service that was never considered this time last year. (I saw one company manufacturing a mask spray to keep your mask smelling fresh!)
  8. If you didn’t catch “Some Good News” with John Krasinski, you have to check it out here:

Finding a New Lens

I’ve been accused of being a glass half full type of person.

Even if that’s true, I have to tell you that my life feels a whole lot better than those “Negative Nellies” who are constantly bellyaching about how bad things (that they can’t control) are.

It’s time to start looking at the negative circumstances in your life through a different lens. The next time you experience something that makes you feel sad, angry, or anything else other than happy, try immediately asking yourself, “What good could possibly come from this?”

Don’t move forward until you’ve come up with an answer. Once you do, focus on that answer instead of whatever horrible, negative thing that just happened to you. Next, ask yourself, “What can I do in the future to make sure that I never feel this way again?” This second question will help you figure out if the event that triggered your negative emotions is in your control or not. If you can’t control it, please don’t give it any of your energy that could be directed in a more productive direction.

Here’s an example: I had a little fender bender recently. I turned left on to a very busy street with one lane going each direction and a turning lane in the center between them. I looked left, then right, and started out on the road. In the time that I looked to the right, another car had turned left into the turning lane, and our vehicles made contact with each other. No one was hurt, and the damage to each vehicle was only cosmetic. The police came and determined that we both were in the wrong. I failed to yield, and the other driver was illegally in the turning lane. (I didn’t realize it, but in Georgia, you can only be in the turning lane if you are turning left off of the street that you are on.) Neither of us was cited for the accident.

But I was angry. I was angry at myself, and I was angry at the other driver. I was angry that my truck was damaged and that I had to pay to have it fixed. The other driver was angry too, and that made me angrier! I remember slowing my thoughts down and asking myself the two questions that I listed above. Here’s what came out of it: I’ve been planning to get a new custom off-road bumper for my truck, and now I have to buy a new bumper anyway! I learned about the turning lane law that I was not aware of. I also learned that sometimes I need to slow down and pay more attention to the world around me.

The biggest lesson that I repeatedly learn in times like these is, “It’s not about me.” This single lesson gives me the best perspective I can have in most situations. How about you?

Written by

Derek Brooks

Owner, Brandywine Printing

Derek owns and operates Brandywine Printing Inc., a family-owned business founded in the early 80s. Brandywine Printing helps businesses succeed by providing printed materials that improve their image and make them more efficient. Derek and his wife Kathy have been married for 25 years and have one daughter, Shiloh, who is pursuing a degree in music education. They are enjoying the empty nest life!