Perspective can be powerful (and sometimes debilitating) but does it hold the key to our growth and self-care?
Recently, the good ol’ socials shared with me a really interesting (and funny) TED Talk video. It was about an inventor who loved building robots but her inventions regularly would regularly end up being unsuccessful (see my earlier post on failing for that old chestnut). Instead of giving up, the inventor consciously shifted her thinking about ‘failures’ deciding that the success of a project is inconsequential–it was the act of building robotics that brought her joy.
By framing her experience from the perspective of creating rather than winning, Simone Giertz made a case for ‘why you should make useless things’. She set out to ‘fail’ at making these crazy robots every day so this way, she considered, she would enjoy a 100% success rate by changing her perspective when approaching her projects.
‘a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view’
‘a settled way of thinking or feeling about something’
Looking at these definitions, I see one thing in common–it’s internal. Your perspective and attitude are both things that are internalised which means that you are in control of them. You choose to either accept or reject a perspective or attitude because they come from your consciousness and are in your control.
Considering this in practice, our clients and colleagues all have a different perspective. These are driven, encouraged and grown from personal background and experience (good and bad) but their perspective will ALWAYS be different from yours. This does not mean, however, that they are right or wrong; their point of view is just different. I think it is fair to think that some people equate the word different negatively, but I disagree. Being different comes with its own motivations and creativity. Imagine if we were all the same, how dull life would be! We wouldn’t be able to have the invigorating debates that we have in our Courts or gain inspiration from the great legal minds we have enjoyed in our justice system (#KirbyFanForLife).
Changing your perspective, even for a short duration, can be the difference between discovering a barrier or a solution. The perspective of our clients may be shaped by a challenging experience they had with a lawyer in the past. Maybe they feel they have really struggled with communication with their last lawyer resulting in trust issues, or maybe they didn’t receive the outcome they anticipated. These experiences will shape their perspective when engaging with us as their legal representative. It may mean that we have to work a little harder to win them over but it also proves that w,e as their practitioner, have the power to change their attitude toward the legal profession as a whole. That is powerful stuff.
Conversely, you can change your own perspective or attitude toward a situation in your workplace. Say a work colleague is quiet and introverted; others could perceive this as being antisocial, uninterested or even rude. But is it? Your attitude towards someone harbouring those traits may be wrongfully conceived (and that’s OK, we are human and we make mistakes) but it’s up to you to learn more and open your way of thinking. Taking on an empathetic perspective could not only impact the experience of your quiet colleague, but it could also change the perspective of the entire workplace by creating a more inclusive environment. That is powerful stuff.
Next time you face a challenge, consider the perspective adopted. Taking on the perspective of someone else can make you a better lawyer–all you need is an open mind.
“The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgement that you don’t always know what the best answer is. It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn’t the answer, but at least you’re asking the question.“Simone Giertz, the inventor who makes useless things
You are not always going to know the answer, but at least you are asking the question.