Friday, August 14, 2009

How to Think Like a Fool #53: Change Your Perspective

OBSERVE: Change Your Perspective
"When the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail."—Abraham Maslow
"People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped."—Author unknown

Why do fools learn to walk on their hands? One reason is to change how they see the world.

Head and heels
"When you die Mulla," asked a friend, "how would you like to be buried?"
"Head downwards. If, as people believe, we are right way up in this world, I want to try being upside-down in the next."
—From The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin by Idries Shah

Fools look at the world sideways, upside-down, close-up, and faraway. They might pretend to be shorter or taller than they really are. They'll put on rose-colored glasses and then go look at roses. One will even drop his pants, put his foot in a bucket, and walk on a big ball. All these help them to break out of the habitual ways of perception.

In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards has her students draw pictures that have been turned upside-down, so that the students are less conscious of the meaning and more aware of shapes and shading, causing a shift of consciousness. The psychologist Robert Ornstein has said that he reads drafts of his writings in reverse, so that he can catch things he would have missed otherwise. I just sang this blog entry to myself and made some changes.

You observe the world from a different perspective or point of view. You do this physically or imaginatively. And suddenly the information you take in becomes much more present and useful. But it can be exhausting:

Think: What can I do to change my perspective? What would happen if I looked at a hammer through a keyhole?

Next: How to Think Like a Fool #54: Pay Attention to the Unnoticed

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