Sunday, January 10, 2016

a different perspective

The key to good photography is perspective. The key to excellent photography is having the ability to capture different perspectives of the same object. It's incredible how a different view of something that might be quite common place can offer us new insights.

I had an experience of this today whilst talking to a good friend. We were speaking about the topic of temporality when she said something quite astounding.

"I find comfort in the temporality of this world."

It invoked a lot of curiosity in me as for most of us, it is the very temporality of our lives that causes us great anxiety and fear. Whether it be death itself or the "mini-deaths" we experience in our day to day lives that manifest in the form of change (i.e. whether it be successes or failures), suffice it to say, impermanence is something that does not sit well with most of us.

And so, I asked her what specifically brought her comfort. Her answer was simple but profound.

When we understand that the world and everything in it is temporary, it has the capacity to take a lot of pressure off of us.

Let me elaborate. Relationships, whether personal or professional affect us greatly. The words and behaviours of others can wreck havoc on our ego and emotions. However, if we view those same experiences through this perspective of temporality, it can invoke greater peace within us. How so? Because we recognize that those words or behaviours have a limited shelf life and in due course come to the conclusion that defining our value and self-worth on something that can change and fluctuate so quickly is a bad investment.

We learn not to take ourselves (and our ego!) so seriously. We become more compassionate with ourselves and others. And for some, we can start taking risks. Whether it be volunteering to give a presentation (which we would have never dreamt of doing!) or learning how to compromise in a situation where we really want to do things our way, recognizing that everything is temporary truly can take the pressure off.

What would you be inspired to do if the pressure was taken off of you?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

care for some feedback?

Feedback. It’s a word we hear a lot these days whether in the context of work, relationships or personal development. But what does it really mean?

As the New Year begins, resolutions are on the rise and determination at its peak. Most of these resolutions take shape in the form of goals to accomplish. And often, to achieve those goals, we require feedback.

Feedback is often associated with a negative connotation as it’s something that the ego rarely wants to hear and resists against greatly. That’s probably why the feedback sandwich has been constructed as it has – speak about a positive quality/accomplishment, “room for improvement” and another positive to remove the sting.

Rarely do people focus on the two positives. Rather, the ego latches on to the “room for improvement” and often justifications arise internally. Any spark of willingness or eagerness to improve gets doused and instead we can feel misunderstood.

It’s these type of situations that we associate feedback with, which I think is part of the challenge. The truth is, we are receiving feedback at all times:

If you are speaking to someone, you can be guaranteed that you are receiving feedback.

The thing is, we don’t call it feedback. We call it communication. But feedback and communication are one and the same. When we interact with someone, we are getting insights into how we feel about us. It may not come in the form of words, but in the form of body language. Being oblivious to it is what hurts us the most.

As a spiritual mentor of mine always says, “The world is constantly giving us feedback.”

And so, as 2016 begins, I encourage us all to change our perspective on feedback. It’s all around us, in the form of communication. It’s up to us to choose what we wish to do with it.