The Importance of Perspective

March 22nd, 2012

Hello. Bonjour. Namaste. Salam.

When I was in Cameroon, I would often see little kids running around barefoot and playing soccer with rocks instead of soccer balls. At first I wondered, “Don’t these kids wish that they had more? Better shoes? Real soccer balls?”  I would watch the kids in my neighborhood play with smiles and laughter that could light up the world even though they had very little.  It was at this moment…this realization that I came to the conclusion:  perspective is everything.

I was pleasantly reminded of the importance of perspective this week through my encounter with a breast cancer survivor.  At a fair on my campus, I stopped at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure booth. This foundation is dedicated to education, research, and search for a cure for breast cancer.  After learning that the woman behind the booth was survivor of breast cancer, I had a burning question and I was nervous about asking it. So I started with, “I would like to ask you a question and it might be personal. But I’ve always wanted to to ask.”  She said, “Sure, ask away.” I said, “How did it feel to be so close to dying and what impact did it have on you?”

She responded to me in such a way that really moved me. She said, “Well, it was very scary. I began to lose my hair and I did not know  what the future held. I did not know what would happen to my life or my health. But at the same time, breast cancer was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It enabled me to have an appreciation for life that I never knew existed. It enabled me to realize that our life is truly a gift. Our lives our short. So, we must treasure what we love, our relationships, our health, ourselves.  I’m thankful to the doctors and nurses that helped me though my journey of breast cancer because it is as if I’ve been given a second chance at life. I would say that yes being that close to dying was extremely hard and vulnerable but it was also a gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life. It has opened up my eyes to the  beauty of appreciating all the wonders that exist around us and my life is so much better for it.”

The power  of perspective. In any challenging situations, good can come from it if we choose to allow it. If we choose to learn from our lives, everything even the most challenging situations contain enormous amounts of power that can take us the best versions of ourselves.  Having the perspective that anything can be a lesson can transform challenging situations into teachers.  Having the perspective that everything can be a lesson  can make an extremely difficult situations a gift.  Perspective has the power to transform.  Perspective has the power to recreate. Perspective enables us to re imagine possibility.

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