Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Make Molehills Out of Mountains

Just for a second, pick up an object and hold it very closely in front of your face. Now, ask yourself what you see. Most likely, if you are holding the object close enough you probably don't see anything but the object. It looks enormous. Now, take the same object and place it across the room, sit down and look at it. Doesn't it have a totally different perspective? You've just made a molehill out of a mountain. 

We live in a society where everything seems to loom over us. Our 24/7 news screams at us constantly about the latest threat. There is always "breaking news." For many of us our workplaces have taken on this magnification. Everything is "urgent" and "immediate." If we ask for some priority we are told that it is "all important." And so we attempt to accomplish everything by putting our heads down and diving in.

Though I've long employed the strategy of attacking everything, I'm learning that I need perspective. When I'm task driven everything is right in front of my face and sometimes I can't judge how much emphasis to place on it. In other words, something more important might need to be done, or there is a different way to handle what I'm looking at.

I just learned this important lesson, so I hope some of you have your own ideas how to place things in perspective. Two strategies work for me. The first is taking a step back. This means putting down my pen, or pushing back from the computer and looking objectively at what I need to accomplish and how vital it is to life, business, the world, my survival, (you get the picture). Most of the time I find I've placed too much emphasis on the task and I've found I can finish it much quicker because I've placed it in perspective. The second strategy I use is asking someone else for their perspective on the task or issue. Many times others have great insights into what I'm trying to do and I'm learning to value their opinion. Sometimes they can see beyond what I'm holding right in front of my face.

Our world seemingly insists that everything is important. That is not true. Stepping back, or gaining the perspective of someone else allows you to move forward much more rapidly and accomplish tasks or overcome challenges. The key is challenging the idea that everything is a mountain. Most of them really are molehills that are right in front of our face.

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