The View From Where You Are…


The differences in individuals’ unique viewpoints have been driven into my head several times recently – literally.  My literal “knocking on the noggin” made me pause to think about a more metaphorical view.  How differences in our viewpoint can lead us to different actions.

We have recently moved and things are in that “normal” state of total chaos.  Part of the chaos is working from makeshift furniture as you wait for the “real” furniture to arrive.  I’ve discovered that this wait has come with a bonus, and not a positive one.  What’s my bonus?  I keep knocking my head on a light fixture. 

This experience made me stop to think about why interventions sometimes work but sometimes don’t.

I’ve tried three interventions…but they aren’t working. 

1 – Several times I have placed a chair right under the light.  The intent is a physical barrier I must walk around.  It works for a bit, but the chair keeps moving…

2 – I’ve moved a table under the light.  Somehow the table keeps getting moved too…

3 – I remind myself that I need to remember the light is hanging down.  Hum, brain must be full or the information getting knocked back out because just reminding myself to watch out for the light fixture hasn’t stopped the knots from accumulating on my head.

This doesn’t seem to be a problem for anyone but me… 

Hum, what is their viewpoint I wonder?  How might it differ from mine?

  • For Skyler and Sydney, it’s above their head.  They never think twice about it. 
  • For Bruce, it’s in his line of sight.  He simply walks around. 
  • For myself, it seems to be just out of my visual line of sight, but clearly not out of the physical realm.   I’m the only one experiencing the problem.

During my analysis, I determined two root causes for failure.

1 – I didn’t involve others in my intervention…

It’s not that the chair moved itself, a person moved it.  Bruce had no idea why there being a lone chair in the middle of the room, so he kept moving it where he percieved it to be “out of the way”. 

How often do we institute an intervention but forget to communicate with key individuals that impact our intervention?  In this case, I sure did.  Why didn’t I?  I thought it would be obvious why the chair kept being placed under the light fixture.  Clearly it wasn’t.

2 – I wasn’t solving the problem in the right way…

My third intervention, reminding myself about the light fixture hanging down clearly isn’t working.  The lumps on my head are proof of that.  The multiple mental reminders clearly aren’t enough to fix the problem.  I don’t think about this at the point of need – before I run into the lamp.

Do we need to change our viewpoint more often?

The 5th time I whacked my head I finally stopped to assess the situation a bit deeper.  One of the outcomes of that analysis is this article.

I asked myself how often do we just look at situations from our own viewpoint.  Might we feel that the problem is so obvious that we don’t need to communicate the issue to others?  Then we wonder why others aren’t lining up to agree “yes, that’s a problem”. 

The answer is clear.  They aren’t lining up with our solutions and interventions because the issue/problem is not an issue/problem for them!  It certainly was the case in my example of the light fixture meets the “noggin”. 

Others may naturally go under, around, or above what we keep running into (physically and/or metaphorically).  Why would they see a need to fix or change something if it isn’t a problem for them?  It’s not that they wouldn’t support our needs, they simply may not be aware of what support we need (aka leave the chair in the middle of the room please).  The problem is we haven’t communicated with them – sharing our needs and intentions.

The Lessons Learned…

  • Remember to check the viewpoint from multiple angles.
  • Don’t make assumptions – others may not see or experience what you are.
  • Check to make sure you are solving the right problem.
  • Understand both short-term and long-term solutions. 
  • Communicate.
  • Duck, when walking near that darn chandelier.  It’s heavy and I have enough lumps on my head!

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