Seeing is Being

One of my favorite quotes comes from the French author, Anaïs Nin: “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." The power of these words, at least for me, is in realizing there are ways to see people and situations in a way that stretches well beyond my own view. (Imagine that!) Why is it, in a world of roughly seven-billion people, we expect everyone to see things our way? I suppose if we traveled the same path in life, lived in the same places, had the same experiences, the same parents, the same friends, the same teachers, the same levels of education and income – basically, the same everything from our respective pasts – we might see things the same way. But who among us has traveled the exact same path? 

When it seems other people don’t “get us” or don’t seem to see things as we do, it’s because, well, they don’t! It’s as if you’re going through life seeing through periwinkle-colored lenses while everyone else is seeing through their own unique set of Crayola-colored lenses. For us to have a meeting of the minds, a way of seeing things through the eyes of another, we need to set our glasses down and open ourselves up to new colors.

We don’t win in life, be it in business or anywhere else out in the world, by forcing a person with yellow-colored lenses to see through our blue-colored ones. Such an approach rarely, if ever, works. So, what to do, what to do? Set your glasses down for a moment and try on a new pair. Get inside that other world; you’ll be amazed how different life will appear when you view it through the eyes of another. It’s not about who's right or who's viewpoint is best (a common argument). It’s simply about trying on something new and seeing where it takes you.

Consider that how you’re seeing gives way to how you’re being. Do you see the world as an angry and difficult place? Chances are, you’ll be an angry and difficult person. See the world as a place filled with opportunity and adventure? Chances are, you’ll be opportunistic (and I mean that in the most positive way possible!) and adventurous. You do get to choose in each and every moment of your life.  How do you really want to be in the world? What serves you, and those in your life, best? What color lenses do you choose? (It’s really that simple; no prescription required.)