The Strength and Weakness of Your Perspective

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."
– Marcus Aurelius

You have a unique perspective on life.

No one else has had the exact same experiences as you, nor did they read the exact same books or interact with the exact same people. That gives you a very special understanding of the world: you naturally see things that other people are incapable of seeing. It's incredibly powerful!

At the same time, the specificity of your perspective has its drawbacks. If you see things that other people can't then, by extension, other people see things that you can't. There are gaps in your vision so to speak.

So the question is, where can you best use your unique perspective and where can you not? What are the strengths of your perspective and what are the weaknesses? We now explore.

Perspective Strength

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."
– Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe

No other human in the world today, nor any other that has lived in history, nor any other that will live in the future has the exact same perspective as you. You have an uncopyable view of the world. Such a special thing gives you a lot of power.

Firstly, when it comes to the decision-making of your own life, especially personal choices, you will always be the best judge. No one else has such a direct view of your own situation. You and you alone have the most information and the most experience. You are the world's leading expert on your own life.

Your unique perspective is a also source of creativity. Great art and inventions are often created not by some crazy new idea, but rather by looking at an old, ordinary thing in a new way. When Steve Jobs came up with the iPhone, it was really a combination of computer, internet, and phone capabilities. No new theories, just a different mix. All artists have different styles of painting from Van Gogh to Michelangelo; their styles are born out of their unique perspective.

You can make great contributions to other people's lives too. After all, you offer a special viewpoint that they don't have. Whether it be in business contributing ideas or in friendly matters giving advice, your special mind allows you to give unique value which they otherwise wouldn't have by themselves. No matter what anyone says, your value to others is unreplicable in the world.

Perspective Weakness

"It is good to know something of the customs of different people in order to judge more soundly of our own, and so that we might not think that all that which is contrary to our own ways be ridiculous and contrary to reason, as those who have seen nothing have the habit of doing."
― RenΓ© Descartes

The source of your perspective's strength is also the source of its weakness. You have a specific view of the world which, by extension, means that you must be missing some parts.

Some things may be obvious. For example, if you have studied a specific field then you might have become an expert in it, but perhaps you aren't so knowledgeable about other fields.

Less obvious and in fact more important are the things you don't know that you don't know; they are the unknown unknowns. Those areas are the ones with the most potential to hurt you if you miss them or at the very least cause you to miss out on big advantages.

Another weakness that stems from your uniqueness is that if other people have different perspectives, it means that by definition they know something you don't. There is information they can see and interpret that you cannot. This gives them a competitive advantage over you. I don't say this to make you fret. It's valuable to be aware that other people might be able to see things that you can't.

How to Enhance Your Perspective

If you find yourself in a situation where you don't know what to do, keep in mind that you can alter your perspective. It's powerful to be in control of that.

Time and Position

To alter your perspective you can use the concepts of time and position.

For time, just wait a little. Sleeping on a thought has a magical effect of making it clear and even spawing new thoughts. Giving yourself time can relieve pain, refresh your energy, and shine new light on your world helping you to learn more and live better.

For position, try to alter your view of the problem at hand. If you've been looking at the details all this time, try zooming out to a high-level view to look at the main stuff and the long-term implications. If you've been looking at the high-level stuff, try zooming into the details and day-to-day effects. Β 

Leveraging the Perspectives of Others

We talked earlier about how other people have different perspectives than you. You can actually use this to your advantage.

In areas where you have less experience, ask people for advice. This could be your parents for relationships or a senior person at your company for your career. They can give you key insights that would otherwise be difficult for you to see.

What's better is that once you've gotten and applied their advice once you will have learned from it. You can then re-apply that expanded knowledge all on your own in the future. You've added their perspective to your perspective.

Final Thoughts

Perspective is a powerful thing, the source of creativity, invention, and unique love. You can trust that your value is unique and needed by the world. At the same time, learn from the perspectives of others to gain a more holistic view of the world.

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