A few years ago our daughter got married on Prince Edward Island. A few of our friends made the trip and as such we spent a number of evenings chatting, reminiscing and just having a good time. One of the friends that was there was someone I had been in business with some forty years ago. As we chatted someone asked him why our construction company had only lasted for a year. The way he put it, he just could not see us being successful. During a week that fall, he was sick and when he came back to the job he claims we had only managed to put up 2 sheets of plywood during that week. (In certain circles I am now called “twei toffle friese”. A direct translation from German is “two sheets friesen”.) That may be closer to the truth than I care to think about.
However, that has nothing to do with my thoughts on perspective. I was reminded of that story when I received a text from that certain friend this week in which he reminded me that it was forty two years ago when the idea of a construction company was born. He went on to say how important that year had been to him in developing his abilities and confidence in accomplishing the various projects we had.
I found a great deal of irony in that. I too had found myself reflecting of late on that particular year and found myself feeling a certain amount of shame as all I could think about was how I had been young, inexperienced and immature. I obsessed about all the mistakes I had made. My perspective changed and with that change I understood what he was saying and began feeling the same way.
After I posted last week (Hindsight is 2020) I had some interesting responses. There were those who liked what I had written, there were those that commented on my thoughts regarding New Year resolutions and then there were responses that had me thinking that there was differences of opinion on thinking 2020 really being a crappy year.
Thinking I had been misunderstood, I reached out. I was curious about the responses. When I learned the intent behind the response, I realized I had not been misunderstood. People simply had a different perspective on the year that was. That helped me in changing my perspective as well.
So that got me thinking even more. I suspect that most times when we read or hear something, we interpret it based on our world view, our history and influenced by our wants, needs and fears for the future.
When I look back at events in my life, the construction company example above being one of them, I have a tendency to see the negatives. They often remind me of all that went wrong in my life. I have to learn to view these as a reminder of all that I am today. As I said in one of my responses, I have experienced numerous dark times in my life. Those experiences helped in molding and shaping who I am today. However, in spite of how positive that may be, I hope I never have to relive those experiences.
So whether it is something someone else says or it is something I have an internal discussion about, and that happens quite often, I need to change my thinking, turning judgement to curiosity. Truly find out what the intentions were of what was said. Find out why I am so often filled with doubts and regrets. I need to understand that there are different perspectives out there and we can learn and grow from all of them.
After reanalyzing my feelings about 2020, using curiosity and not judgement, I am convinced that I never want to experience a year like 2020 again in spite of all the positives I could list. But rather than focus on the negatives I will now focus on the positives. I will endeavor to change my perspective. Make it a good one.