Changing Perspective

By Phil Gérard

The other week my family and I went to see Big Hero 6. The movie theatre was packed and we grabbed the last few seats in row two of the theatre. Not a great row to sit in!

The movie had just started and suddenly my wife’s phone rang. She was very embarrassed and quickly sent the call to voice mail. Shortly after, the text notification beeped. I gave her a look as she grabbed her phone to read the message. She jumped up and made her way to the exit while mumbling excuses under her breath. I knew something was wrong when I saw a tear run down her cheek before she jumped up; but the people in the audience just saw a rude, disruptive person negatively affecting their movie experience. When she finally returned she confirmed what I had feared. Needless to say only my kids remember much of Big Hero 6.

In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey speaks about the concept of paradigm shift. He describes a paradigm as our perception of reality, our view of the world. When we suddenly change our perception (about a situation, for example) we experience a paradigm shift.

In our daily lives we constantly encounter situations we don’t fully understand but we are quick to have an opinion about it. I admit I am guilty of this. During our last vacation in Mexico we took our kids to a hairdresser. We had made an appointment a few days before. When we arrived on time for the appointment the receptionist said that the owner (and also main stylist) had to leave and won’t be back for another hour. I immediately had an opinion about it. When we did come back an hour later, the owner had arrived but we noticed that she was dressed in black and a number of people came into the shop to speak to her. She had just been to her brother’s funeral.

It is hard for me as it is for so many not to look at a situation with a traditional view, what we expect to be the case. Trying to understand more, to ask more, to wait before speaking, can save us from saying the wrong thing and help us lead more meaningful and productive lives.

Applying this in a fundraising context, listening to our donors more than pitching them can give us the full picture and scope of a donor’s interest.

In the workplace as well as in our personal lives we can practice this concept by not always jumping to conclusions right away when we see people around us do something that we do not approve of. Let’s find out what’s going on first. Be curious not furious.

In this spirit I would like to wish you and yours a most wonderful holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year! Try and find some time to relax and enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Changing Perspective”

  1. Thanks for this gentle reminder Phil. Perspective is often shifted when we listen (really listen) more than we talk. As you said we never know what is going on for others. Love this quote, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”. There would be quite a paradigm shift would’t there if we practiced approaching others this way? Best to you Phil for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2015.

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