Episode 007: The Puzzling Perspective


The Puzzling Perspective

               One evening, a young boy hopped up on his father’s lap and whispered, “Dad, we don’t spend enough time together.” The father, who dearly loved his son, knew in his heart this was true and replied, “You’re right and I’m so sorry. But I promise I’ll make it up to you. Since tomorrow is Saturday, why don’t we spend the entire day together? Just you and me!” it was a plan, and the boy went to bed that night with a smile on his face, envisioning the day, excited about the adventurous possibilities with his Pops.
               The next morning the father rose earlier than usual. He wanted to make sure he could still enjoy his ritual cup of coffee with the morning paper before his son awoke, wound up and ready to go. Lost in thought reading the business section, he was caught by surprise when suddenly his son pulled the newspaper down and enthusiastically shouted, “Dad, I’m up. Let’s play!”
               The father, although thrilled to see his son and eager to start the day together, found himself guilty craving just a little more time to finish his morning routine. Quickly racking his brain, he hit upon a promising idea. He grabbed his son, gave him a huge hug, and announced that their firth game would be to put a puzzle together, and when that was done, “we’ll head outside to play for the rest of the day.”
               Earlier in his reading, he had seen a full-page ad with a picture of the world. He quickly found it, tore it into little pieces, and spread them out on the table. He found some tape for his son and said, “I want to see how fast you can put this puzzle together.” The boy enthusiastically dove right in, while his father, confident that he had now bought some extra time, buried himself back in his paper.
               Within minutes, the boy once again yanked down his father’s newspaper and proudly announced, “Dad, I’m done!” the father was astonished. For what lay in front of him – whole, intact, and complete – was the picture of the world, back together as it was in the ad and not one piece out of place. In a voice mixed with parental pride and wonder, the father asked, “How on earth did you do that so fast?”
               The young boy beamed. “It was easy, Dad! I couldn’t do it at first and I started to give up, it was so hard. But then I dropped a piece on the floor, and because it’s a glass-top table, when I looked up I saw that there was a picture of a man on the other side. That gave me an idea!
               “When I put the man together, the world just fell into place.”
The One Thing by Gary Keller


The Insights and Takeaways

               I believe that you have to read a story at LEAST twice before I can fully make some observations. I remember reading the texts from Justin that had this story at least 5 times. In the book, Gary Keller notes that one take away could be the “apparent issue” the father has with life balance, BUT neither Gary nor I believe that that is the major point.

               Gary goes on to elaborate that his major take away was that, quote, “Success is an inside job.” Which goes hand in hand with The last sentence the boy utters in the story, “When I put the man together, the world just fell into place.”   

               I can’t expect to change the world without first looking within myself. As the legendary King of Pop put it, “start with the man in the mirror.” Work on improving yourself. Focus on enhancing your relationships, honing your skills, and elevating your perceived limitations. Progress. Success. Change. It doesn’t start with the guy on TV. It doesn’t start with your friend who is traveling the world. It all starts with YOU. It truly does.

               The other major take away I wanted to focus on isn’t exemplified by the father, but by the son. The boy was given a challenging task of basically putting back together a hastily torn picture of the world from a newspaper. The boy admitted that it was difficult and he started to give up. BUT little did he know, accidentally dropping a piece turned the whole situation around. Dropping the piece on the floor and looking from underneath the table forced the boy to CHANGE HIS PERSPECTIVE.

               As we grow up, we are taught the “conventional” ways to look at certain situations. We are told that a specific routine, formula, or method is the only way to solve a certain situation. The human mind likes routines and habits. The mind likes to cling to a certain method and stick with it. For example, I enjoy photography and when I frame a picture, I immediately envision 2 or 3 images. I learned very quickly that if I were to follow through on these ideas, I would more than likely get a mediocre result. Forcing myself to brainstorm different perspectives to get the most intriguing photo has undoubtedly produced higher quality photos.

               The boy in the story was faced with a problem, tackled it, and gave up. He then changed his perspective by being creative and flexible. He tackled the problem once more and this time came out on top.


The Challenge

               As the week begins, I hope you keep this story in your heart, and incorporate its lessons into your own life. I challenge you to take initiative. Work on improving and refining the person you see in the mirror each and every day. Start by putting yourself together and if you happen to get stuck, don’t give up. Take a second to step back and reevaluate. Follow the boy and Don’t constrain yourself to the conventional methods if they aren’t working. Tackle the situation you face from a different perspective. Be flexible. Be relentless. Be the change that you want to see.