9 ways to get a fresh perspective

May 11, 2012

When we act like a Tunnel Visionary, we have a Seeing Gap, and that gets us stuck.  In our stuck moment, we’re viewing our situation as one of limitations, preventing us from seeing how we can make a change or move ahead.

Here are 9 tips that can help shift our view to what’s possible, giving us the inspiration we need to get unstuck.

• Look at it from someone else’s point of view. If I were a seven-year-old child, what would I see? If I were a WWII fighter pilot, or a hippie in the ‘60s, or a great-grandmother, or “Mad Men”’s Don Draper, what would I see? Have fun coming up with different personas and their viewpoints.

• Describe the situation (write it, record it, or draw it), considering every nook and cranny. When you notice anything new or different, note it. You can practice paying attention to tiny details with a spot-the-difference game like this one.

• Take a giant step back from the situation and ask yourself these questions: How does this situation fit into the larger scheme of things? How does it affect want I’m trying to achieve in life? How might it play out 10 years from now? Is it similar in any way to past circumstances in my life?

• Examine your habits. Why did you start the habit? What purpose does it serve? Is there some way that you can alter the habit to make it more effective? You may find that what has worked in the past may not be applicable now.

• Describe the situation you’re stuck in to someone, then ask the person to describe it back to you in his or her own words. Listen for differences and ask questions like, Is there anything I’ve left out? What do you think is the crux of the situation? Where do you see opportunity?

• When you’re not in a stuck moment, practice expanding the way you look at things. Consider common objects and find new ways to use them or present them. Artists do this all the time, so venture out to a gallery or museum and ponder their perspectives. Or cheat a bit and look online. Google Art Project lets you wander through collections around the world.

• Look into an activity that you’ve never considered or don’t value. You could attend a class or lecture, ask a friend what she gets out of collecting stamps, spend a couple of hours doing work that you usually pay someone else to do. Most likely, you’ll start to see beneficial aspects you hadn’t considered before.

• Ask yourself what you value most in life, work, friends, your free time. Then compare it with what you imagine the other people involved in your stuck moment value. Where do your values match and differ? Reflect on how you might help close those differences.

• Once you’ve spent time pushing the boundaries of your sightline, jot down the upside of your stuck situation, looking for opportunities to build on the positive aspects.

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