Updated: Jan 13, 2021
We observe everything! We see the world as it is for us through our unique lens like no one else does. Recognizing this has power.
We then can establish the idea that "Even if we are watching the same event unfold, we may be having an entirely different experience."
Why is this such a powerful shift to make?
Compassion is created through understanding. If I understand that you see events differently than I do, I can choose to have a compassionate perspective regarding your perspective. It no longer is a question of who is right or who is wrong. From this new place, we can come to an understanding of what we are facing. This starting point is the place of new possibility.
If you are courageous enough to share your experience, this may open the door to new possibilities. And if I am courageous enough to listen to your perspective without an assessment of 'right or wrong.' We have an opportunity that did not exist before—creativity, learning and relationship.
Learning how we observe is not as daunting and mystical as it may sound.
The only thing we need to do is to pay attention to what is happening for us from moment to moment. Situations arise, and we see them with a particular lens and individual emotions. By putting your attention on this way of observing and asking yourself some inquisitive questions, you will decipher how you see the world.
As I look inside, I may ask, "What am I feeling at this moment as I see this event unfold?" or "What may I be missing and is there an opportunity to see this moment differently?"
I can share a personal story of this in action. Over the course of my life, I have seen the phone as a negative thing, and this negativity spawned as a very young child as I watched my Dad avoid answering the phone and always making my Mom do it.
When returning home from work, that was the focus of his complaining, the phone. As a young child, I latched onto this assessment of the phone as a negative thing—something to avoid and despise. As I grew into a man, I kept that assessment close, never letting go of it. As cell phones became popular, I held out until my work demanded me to have one. I developed a significant dislike for the phone and stayed in a state of complaint regularly about the phone. It was my drift.
As my career progressed, the importance of the phone became more and more prevalent. It wasn't until a performance review when a boss asked me, "Why are you so difficult to reach by phone? And when I call, you usually respond with a text or email."
In a moment of vulnerability, I explained, "I hate the phone." The next words out of my boss's mouth were, "This will be a problem." At that point, it was time to take a serious look at where my assessment of the phone started. This moment opened up a choice point. I needed to unearth how this assessment of 'I dislike the phone' came to be such a powerful force in my life.
Working with my coach, I began to look at the phone as something different. It became another tool to connect, to get in touch and keep motivated. It still wasn't my preferred method of communication, but I no longer complained about it. I no longer avoided talking on the phone as I once did. My perspective of the telephone shifted allowed me to show up differently and be more open to its benefits.
This example may seem unusual, but we all have a 'telephone' in our lives. Perhaps it is a challenging co-worker or family member; maybe it is a mundane work task that you must do or a responsibility that creates suffering even at the thought of it.
Shifting the way you observe something to make it serve you better. By shifting the way, you see something, and you will ultimately change how you show up and the results you get.
I will close with a question that was posed to me, "What things in life have you missed out on because you locked yourself into a certain way of observing? What opportunities have you missed?"