Lesson #5 – Change Your Viewpoint

–Leaders change their viewpoints and assist others in doing so to reveal their blind spots

Ophthalmologists are eye doctors. They have a name for a blind spot on the eye: it’s called a scotoma. If you have a scotoma, you can see all around something, but not where the blind spot is. So, if I am looking right at you, I might be able to see your whole face, except for your nose.

Now, I can either cure the blind spot or I can change my viewpoint. If I take two steps to the left, then I still have my scotoma or blind spot, but now, with this new viewpoint, I can see your whole face and your nose, too.

Many times we want a result badly, but we do not see achieving it as realistic. That’s simply a blind spot we have.

You can shift a blind spot through brainstorming with other people where you are offered someone else’s viewpoint. Blind spots can be healed by having a revelation, even an emotional experience that alters their viewpoint of reality.

The author who wrote the famous song, “Amazing Grace,” had such a revelation. He was a 26-year-old slave trader on his way from Africa to the United States in the early 1800’s. His ship ran into a deadly storm. He prayed to God for a miracle. The storm cleared and he and the ship were saved. He returned immediately to Africa and released all 120 slaves. He then went to England and became a leader of the abolitionist movement.

Many times the life experiences required to have a revelation are too expensive. That’s why experiential learning in a good seminar or with a great coach can be so valuable. You can have the benefit of healing a scotoma and not pay anywhere near the cost that life often requires.

The Greek word “metanoia” means to change your viewpoint. The word “sin,” in old English, was yelled by someone standing near an archery target to indicate you missed the bull’s eye in the center. Feeling guilty is not the focus. If you missed the mark, change your viewpoint and you will hit the mark.

What can you do this week to change a viewpoint that is not giving and getting you the results you want?

If you’re not achieving the results you want, you probably have blind spots that are obscuring your viewpoint. A deeply emotional experience can alter your viewpoint in an instant.

Action Step #1

Look at your personal or professional life and pick out a goal you are struggling to accomplish or any situation that isn’t the way you want it to be.

Now, meet with two or three people from different professions than yours or who have vastly different interests or experiences. Brainstorm with them, asking what they would do if they were you? No reasons for why it can’t be done are allowed. Your job is to listen. Let each person contribute ways to improve your result. It doesn’t mean you have to do exactly what they say. Your goal is to change your viewpoint, so you don’t sin and miss the target.

An Example
In 1981, I hired a lady from Idaho to come to San Diego to build our seminar business. Two days after she arrived, I asked her to send out 50 invitations of people she knew in San Diego to an event. She complained she had just arrived and didn’t know that many people. I told her about a game I played in my 20s called “Thumper.” We would sit in a circle and begin a rhythm slapping our thighs going, “Categories… Names of . . . and the first person would name a category like “cars.” Then we went around the circle in order and each person had to name a type of car (Chevrolet, Ford, Mercedes, etc.) until someone went temporarily blank and couldn’t name one while keeping up in time with the rhythm. The person that went blank would have to chug a whole can of beer. You can see the point of our game, but minus the beer, it’s a useful tool. I told my seminar business-builder to write down everyone she knew until she got stuck. That stuck point was her scotoma. After she got stuck, I said, “How do you know the first person on your list?”
She said the automobile repair shop. Her car had developed a problem. So, I said, “We now have our first category: Car repair, or simply cars. Does the car repair shop have anyone working there besides the person you talked to?” “Oh yes,” she said, “but I don’t know them well enough to invite them.” I told her to add the names to her list anyway. I then asked, “Have you made a hair or nail appointment yet?” She had. “Are they all on your list?” You can guess what happened next. We went back and forth on categories until she had over 50 on her list.

Her subconscious knew hundreds of names and people, but her “They wouldn’t be interested” or “I don’t know them well enough” or “I’ll look silly asking them” were scotomas screening out most of the people she already knew.

Action Step #2

Write down a description of the most emotional situation you’ve had in the last year. Now, write about how your viewpoint of life was shifted by that event. How did this shift in viewpoint hold you back? How did this same shift move you forward?

When you have shifted your viewpoint, it usually affects whatever you are looking at in your life and work. The first step is becoming aware of what viewpoints we have and how they are working for and against us.

An Example

When I was in my twenties, I lived in Hawaii for five years. I kept saying I just couldn’t find the right woman to love, even though there were a million people in Hawaii. Perhaps 500,000 of them were of the opposite sex and maybe 50,000 in an age bracket that would work great for me, but I still couldn’t find the right person.

I had a scotoma from a previous experience. I had been engaged and three days before we were to be married my fiancée walked out on me. My brain went, “I am never feeling that pain ever again.”

With that conversation going on in my subconscious, I literally could not see women that might offer a great relationship with me. I would find something wrong with them so that I would not have the chance of being deeply hurt again.

When I changed my conversation to, “I am having a wildly romantic long lasting relationship whether I get hurt or not,” almost out of the blue I found my wife (and have been married to her ever since). I changed my viewpoint and that opened me up to seeing what I could not see before.

“The first thing to growth and change is to catch your-self being yourself.”
–Todd Demorest

2 Responses to “Lesson #5 – Change Your Viewpoint”

  1. Beverly says:

    Perfect timing by a very wise publication. Thank you!

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