Get perspective – Look up at the stars

These days so many people seem to lead very busy, pressurised lives. One of the results of that can be a narrow focus on the last mistake, the next deadline and so on. It can so easily become the case that all we see is the pressure and the potential problems. This can especially be the case when work pressures combine with pressures at home (and, indeed, they can reinforce each other).

One of the dangers in situations like this is that we lose perspective, we lose sight of the bigger picture. We can easily start to think that all there is to life is pressure and problems. That can create a sense of defeatism and even cynicism and things can start to crowd in on us.

We can then get into an escalation situation. Problems seem to be greater than they really are. Solutions seem out of reach. Confidence goes down and a sense of foreboding gets greater. We can become trapped in a cocoon of negativity.

Although at times it can be more easily said than done, what can be a useful antidote to this is to look up at the stars, appreciate how big the universe and therefore how minor our concerns are by comparison.  The French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, made the famous comment that the vastness of the universe and its ‘eternal silences’ frightened him. I’m not sure about it being frightening, but perhaps unnerving. But, on a more positive note, it can help us put our own trials and tribulations in perspective.

There are billions of stars in a galaxy and more galaxies in the universe than there are grains of sand on the earth, so that should help to show just how small our pressures are in the overall scheme of things. This is not to belittle the importance of our concerns, but, rather to balance them out, to see them in perspective. That perspective should make us feel less pressurised and give us more strength to do what we need to do to move forward positively.

It is easy to understand how readily we can find ourselves in that situation where we feel surrounded by problems and challenges, perhaps wondering if there will be a more relaxed time. But, that does not alter the fact that it is not a good place to be or that there isn’t a better, more balanced way of looking at things.

So, it can be important to ask yourself whether your life is balanced in terms of its focus. Are you seeing your life and its pressures in perspective? Or is there a danger that your focus is too narrow and too negative? Also, what is happening in terms of the people around you? Are they influencing you in the direction of a narrow focus, or perhaps that is what you are doing to them?

There is no simple way to get a sense of perspective, but it is certainly worth the effort of trying to do so. It might be helpful to think about who wold be well placed to support you in this. Who do you know who has that knack of keeping a clear focus on their problems and pressures, but also seeing them as art of a wider picture? How might they help you do the same?

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Dr Neil Thompson

About the Author:

Neil Thompson is a writer, trainer and consultant who has published several best-selling textbooks. He edits THE humansolutions BULLETIN, a fortnightly e-zine. For a no cost subscription go to http://www.humansolutions.org/bulletin. He also tutors the online learning community, The Avenue Professional Development Programme: http://www.apdp.org.uk.
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