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Purposeful Perspective

By Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach

Dr. John Gray (Mars/Venus) tells a story about how his father was robbed by a hitchhiker and left in the trunk of his car. In the heat of the day, his father was unable to get out of the trunk, and ultimately died of heat stroke.

After the funeral, Dr. Gray says that he felt a need to connect with his father, so he climbed into the trunk of the car, and as they closed the lid to the trunk he saw what his father had experienced. He saw where his father had reached through the rear light encasements in an effort to get air.

As he reached through the same place, his brother on the outside of the car asked him to see if he could push the button. Dr. Gray reached around, pushed the button, and the trunk popped open.

He was stunned. If only their father had thought of this, he would still be alive. But it took his brother on the outside to notice the button.

The lesson? Sometimes you have to step outside the situation you feel trapped in to see that you're not trapped after all.

My own father used to say to me, "If you need a different perspective, stand on a chair." Now of course he was being silly, but there was also a lesson buried there. Have you even had occasion to get on the roof of your house, and suddenly be aware of a whole different neighborhood than you see on a daily basis?

It's not that those things aren't there - you just don't see them.

I like to use this example. Look out your window right now. Can you see Arizona? Can you see me? (I hope not!) But that doesn't mean I'm not here.

What I want to stress is this: Just because you don't see the solution doesn't mean it's not there.

Be careful - and aware! - of the trap that what you see and feel is "reality". Perspective is your viewpoint -- NOT just the events themselves, but how you interpret the events.

We"ve all said "it is what it is". But THAT"S NOT TRUE! It is what you perceive it to be. We are each viewing life through our very own personal filter. That's why you often get a different perspective - viewpoint - attitude - solution - idea -- when you tell someone else your problem. They "see it differently -- via THEIR filters.

The key, however, is to be consciously OPEN to these differences in viewpoint. Then you'll be able to take advantage of "the person outside", just as Dr. Gray's brother was able to tell him how to push the button.

If you just say, "No, I can't see the button, so it must not be there", you may forever be trapped in your own trunk.

Push the button on your trunk, and let in the light.

About The Author

Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates specializes in helping people who are ready to create a simpler, less stressful, more joyful and meaningful lifestyle. Visit for information, products and services, and sign up for a free newsletter.


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