Radar, helicopters, satellites, lookouts, zooming out and just plain old standing back. They all share the same property of gaining a wider perspective of a scenario by increasing the distance between you and the subject matter.
Focus is important. Being in the ‘thick of it’ is important. Working at the coal face is invaluably important. But it’s not the whole picture.
When we get entrenched in a job, a lifestyle, a relationship or even a hobby, it’s disruptive, annoying and unwelcome when change comes knocking – even if we’re unhappy. By this point, the perspective we are living is from the inside-out. We’re living in the middle of it, therefore our understanding of the content is always influenced by the fact we’re holding it close to our heart and minds. Whether we’re in love or not with it is another matter.
It’s often when we step back, take a holiday, leave it alone for a while that suddenly other influences, ideas and perspectives suddenly enrich and even change our emotion, ideals and views on what was once so ingrained.
In some circumstances, you could become so far removed from the environment for a period of time you actually start to wonder how you ever lived and breathed the life you left behind.
Bad bosses, exes, friendships etc – we all have people, times and situations in our lives where we reflect and think, ‘what the hell was I thinking?!’
This is because we are drawn to look at situations in life from the inside-out rather than the outside-in. The inside-out is safe, warm and filled with evidence to validate your opinions and views. The outside-in is filled with questions and the chance of confrontation and conflicting views – with yourself.
But the outside-in is where we grow. The outside-in is the place we find wisdom, hindsight, future advice and a deeper understanding of the world around us.
When you’re on the outside looking in, it’s like you’re the one with the bigger picture. You’re in control and you’re able to get a strong view of your options and where the land lies. It’s often quite objective and the emotional charge is holistic.
When you’re on the inside looking out, you are trying to assess the world from a window whilst being surrounded. You’re in limited control and your view is restricted. No matter how hard you press your face up against the glass, you just can’t quite see what’s lurking outside. It’s often quite subjective and the emotional charge is specific.
This is why we have such cognitive dissonance with people facing massive personal challenges. To the insiders, it’s their world falling apart. To the outsiders it’s the 6pm news. But then the outsiders at times become the insiders and they’re outraged the world doesn’t stop to care.
Next time something happens around you or in your life, force yourself to stop thinking about what you would do and start to look at what many others might do in the same situation and why they would do it.
Create ten differing perspectives of the one situation in your mind and you’ll start to realise there’s always a new chance, a new perspective, a different way. You’ll also be astounded as to how crazy people are when they jump to conclusions or live their live to a certain belief system with pig headed determination.
Sure they might be bold and resolved in their own way and in their small domain they’re the king/queen. But also just maybe, they’re scared to step back and see the bigger picture because it’s safer to stay inside.
It’s up to you which one you want to be, but between you and me the outside-in is much happier in the long term.