Perspective, you want it

Perspective is the lens we view our world, work, relationships, etc. All the luck, resources, or knowledge in the world are wasted without good perspective. If we’re talking about life like it’s a role playing game character sheet, you want to have a good perspective stat/multiplier.

Some clever tricks:

  • keep the mind open and flexible to other perspectives; seek them out
  • practice at holding many perspectives simultaneously
  • know the limitations and strengths of a perspective as you navigate the world
  • know when your default perspective makes a scenario more difficult and how to fall back to a perspective you still believe in
  • get out of routines periodically and see if it changes how you see things
  • more so, get out of your bubble; see people of a different background live their lives, reflect on what factors brought them there and how factors are different/similar for your life
  • even more so, travel outside your city/state/country; axiomatically the people most different from you live in a place far away

It’s often tough to gain perspective. Most of the defaults in life steer us away from insight. School, cliques, work, even typical travel nudge us toward seeing familiar things with similar people who live similar lives. I’m by no means an expert at breaking out of these ruts. I’m pretty enamored with my routines. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clever trick to offer here.

Julian Shapiro, What you should be working on:

What is admirable is periodically killing your momentum to ask, Should I still be doing this?

Michael Lopp, The Art of Leadership: Small Things, Done Well:

Let others change your mind. There are more of them than you. The size of your team’s network is collectively larger than yours, so it stands to reason they have more information. Listen to that information and let others change your perspective and your decisions. Augment your obvious and non-obvious weaknesses by building a diverse team. It’s choosing the path of least resistance to build a team full of humans who agree with you. Ideas don’t get better with agreement. Ideas gather their strength with healthy discord, and that means finding and hiring humans who represent the widest possible spread of perspective and experience. Delegate more than is comfortable. The complete delegation of work to someone else on the team is a vote of confidence in their ability, which is one essential way that trust forms within a team. Letting go of doing the work is tricky, but the manager’s job isn’t doing quality work, it’s building a healthy team that does quality work at scale.

Be like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett: If you’re not spending 5 hours per week learning, you’re being irresponsible

Former president Obama perfectly explains why he was so committed to reading during his presidency in a recent New York Times interview (paywall): “At a time when events move so quickly and so much information is transmitted,” he said, reading gave him the ability to occasionally “slow down and get perspective” and “the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes.” These two things, he added, “have been invaluable to me. Whether they’ve made me a better president I can’t say. But what I can say is that they have allowed me to sort of maintain my balance during the course of eight years, because this is a place that comes at you hard and fast and doesn’t let up.”

Adam Keys @therealadam