There are many experiences in life which catch your eyes, but there are a few which will touch your heart – pursue those! I am reflecting on this statement as I write this article 37000 feet flying over beautiful Africa. Although it is night time so my eyes can’t see the beauty below, the eyes of my heart are captured by the small boys and girls who walk to school barefoot in this winter. Hope is expressed in their faith filled smiles. What warms up my heart and brings a smile on my face, is their indomitable spirit and their visible joy against the odds. They are little heroes. They are the hope of a continent ravaged by war, poverty, disease, corruption. They are the light that will illuminate the dark places of the earth which have become habitations of cruelty. We don’t know what the future holds, but one thing we know for sure, these kids are the future!
I had an experience recently which elevated my perspective about life. It is important to always look at life from the other side. You will start to appreciate some of the things you take for granted. As you do so, you live everyday as if it were a miracle hence experience an atmosphere of miracles. Changing your perspective opens you up to new possibilities. The greatest challenge in life is not that there are no opportunities, but that you can’t see them. Changing perspective means altering your premises, paradigms or mental models and looking at things differently. To make the point let me share with you a little story. Lasting impressions tell the truth with simplicity.
One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the village with the purpose of showing him how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’ ‘It was great, Dad.” Did you see how poor people live?’ the father asked. ‘Oh yes,’ said the son. ‘So, tell me, what you learnt from the trip?’ asked the father. The son answered: ‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a river that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.
The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’ This young man had a different perspective in life. I want to share some simple insights.
Learn to Count Your Blessings
The story above will make you realise that we live in a day and age where we are quick to look at the negatives in life, quick to speak negatives into our own lives and those around us. I wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don’t have. If we appreciated the small things around us like the hugs from our kids or their toothless smiles. Thank God you can read this, some have no eyes and can’t see, and others have eyes but can’t read. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Look at your job, no matter how low as an opportunity to shine. Your current position in life is a stepping stone to bigger things ahead. Give it your all and expand your territory.
See Light in Darkness
As I flew in the night, I saw some light from villages below. Such is the power of light, no matter how dark a night is, a small light will still shine. However it matters what you choose to see – the dark or the light. Every dark cloud has a silver lining and the brightest start shines on the darkest night. God called light out of darkness and it became. Imagine if you could see the possibilities in others? Imagine if you could see the hope in that failing marriage or business? Imagine if you could see a future President in the young girl or boy with no shoes and a torn uniform?
You might be faced with the biggest challenge of your life right now. There is a ‘bug bear’ which has been nagging you and you want to get rid of it? Your life feels like you are in cul de sac – just going round in circles, or you feel like you are riding a rocking horse – all motion no progress? It is time to change your perspective. Take a step out of the situation, gain perspective and approach things with fresh insight and understanding. It’s time to change perspective to alter the course of your life and that of others. To change your world you need to change your perspective.