We both look at it. I see a circle. You see a triangle.

January 27, 2016

I have always loved Chuck Swindoll‘s famous quote:

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.”

It underscores how so much in life depends on perspective. When I started working in clinic, I was stressed by crunch of chart reviews, seeing patients, answering pages, and writing notes while constantly feeling rushed and falling behind. I would leave clinic exhausted with a hard knot between by shoulders. Then one clinic day, I decided to try an experiment. I would work as effectively as I could, but I would consciously avoid worrying about the chaos around me. Whether or not the charts stacked up, I was going to see people as efficiently and effectively as I could, so worrying about the stack of charts wasn’t going to help. Surprisingly, I accomplished the same amount of work that day (in fact, nothing changed about my clinic whatsoever), but I left clinic completely relaxed. I realized simply changing my point of view could massively reduce my level of stress (and increase happiness).

Speaking of perspective…

Today, I listened to a Work In Progress talk from Dr. Rich Frankel at Regenstrief and he mentioned Judy Brown’s “Cone in the box.”  What a wonderful lesson in perspective: two people looking at the same object and one sees a circle while the other sees a triangle. Who’s right? Are they both right? Are they both wrong? Not surprisingly, it depends on your perspective.


The next time you find yourself arguing with someone about whether it’s a circle or a triangle, take a moment to realize you might both be right (or wrong, depending on your perspective).

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anaïs Nin

For another example of how your perspective can change what you see, wait for a large moon on the horizon and try the One-Eyed Pinky Trick. 🙂

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