Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of perspective. In fact, one of the greatest assets any leader can have is a powerful positive perspective – the ability to see the good in any circumstance.
It’s like the young boy who was playing baseball in his front yard. The lad announced to his mother, who was watching from the window, “I’m the greatest hitter in all of baseball!” And he threw his ball into the air and took a mighty swing with his bat.
He missed. “That’s strike one!” he called. “Still two more to go, but I won’t need them – I’m the best hitter in all of baseball.”
He tossed the ball into the air again, and took another mighty swing. The ball landed softly at his feet.
“That’s strike two!” he yelled. “One more strike to go. Not a problem for the best hitter in all of baseball.”
He threw the ball it the air once more, and once again he took a mighty swing. He swung so hard he spun around on his heels and fell down onto the grass. The ball lay nearby, untouched.
The boy got up, dusted off his pants and cried out, “Steeeee-rike three! I’m out!”
His mother called out, “Aren’t you upset you didn’t get a hit? After all, you’re the greatest hitter in all of baseball.”
The boy turned to her and smiled. “No way! Since I struck myself out, I just discovered I’m the greatest pitcher in all of baseball!”
Now THAT is a powerful positive perspective. Finding the good in every circumstance, looking for good instead of searching for the bad.
Chances are, you’ve met people like that young boy. People who, no matter the circumstances, no matter what’s going on around them, see the world through a positive lens. We call them many things – dreamers, optimists, romantics, idealists, star-gazers. But no matter what we call them, most of us like being around them. They bring hope. They bring energy. They bring a sense of possibility that helps ignite our own sense of belief. We may give positive-perspective-holders a hard time, but when push comes to shove, we want them on our team.
Because we know what the people with powerful negative perspectives bring.
Those people have never met an opportunity that they liked. They see all the cracks, the blemishes, the reasons why something can’t be done. People with a powerful negative perspective may tell you that they actually understand the weight of the situation, but oftentimes they ARE the weight in the situation!
Don’t you find that to be true? In our current culture, negativity has somehow become synonymous with clear thinking and wisdom. Meanwhile, people with a positive outlook are considered naïve or willfully ignorant. And so folks that want to get ahead embrace the darkly cynical outlook that others have adopted, and then wonder why everyone has problems but so few people have ideas!
My friend, I assure you, you don’t want to have a powerful perspective that’s negative. You don’t want to be the person who dwells on what’s gone wrong, what is wrong, and what’s likely to go wrong. You don’t need those kind of thoughts in your head on a regular basis, and I’ll tell you why:
Because life provides enough challenges as it is. You don’t need to add to them.
Instead, you need to focus your energy and thinking on becoming a person with a powerful positive perspective. Look for the good. Believe the good. Find others who believe as you do and partner with them to make a difference. Because this much is true: the only people who get things done are the people who believe something can be done.
I love the advice the Apostle Paul gave to some of the leaders he trained in the city of Philippi:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Phil. 4:8-9, MSG)
Do you see what Paul advised his readers to focus on? Positive things! Because having a positive perspective helps you in every situation. It doesn’t mean you deny reality; it just means you acknowledge that even the toughest circumstances have a way through them. There are options. There is hope. In a world that’s become quick to dismiss hope as a fool’s dream, people who can keep hope alive stand out all the more.
So the question you have to ask yourself is: what kind of powerful perspective do I have? Is it positive or negative?
Maybe you’ve never considered just how powerful your perspective is. Maybe you’ve never realized just how much your thinking shapes your behavior. Maybe you’ve been trapped in a cycle of negative circumstances and you don’t know how to get out.
Cultivate a powerful positive perspective. I promise you, in every problem, there is something positive that can be found. Talk back to your negative thoughts. Tell yourself that something good can be found. Discipline yourself to look for it. Surround yourself with people who look for the positive and learn from them. Allow yourself to fan the flames of hope in your heart.
Things won’t always go your way, but you can turn them to your advantage if you’ll keep a powerful positive perspective. You might strike out, only to find you’ve been seeing yourself in the wrong position all along.
Life has so much to offer you if you’ll look for it. Make a powerful positive perspective your goal, and you’ll be amazed how life opens up.