Who do you see in the picture above? Is it a young, wealthy lady or a sad, old woman with a rather large nose? I post this picture last week with the simple question, old woman or young lady? Although 50 or so viewed the post no-one responded, probably because they did not have the time or context as to why it was relevant who they saw. There was a point to this exercise though so I asked a few friends the same question with mixed results. Some saw an old woman and could only see an old woman while others saw a young lady and could only see her.
The reason for the split is because of the perspective and angle you take when looking at the picture. What if I asked the same question but show you a different version of the same picture? What do you see in the picture below? Old woman or young lady?
It’s all about perspective, once someone shows you a different way of seeing a picture or a situation, you can see it from their perspective. This exercise is an extract from one of the most powerful books, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I read this book (or listened to the audio version) about 18 months ago and so many concepts covered in the book changed my view on many aspects of life. Initially, I could only see the young lady but once I was shown the old woman, all I could really see was her.
This exercise is an excellent example of the importance of perspective. We all come to situations with a multitude of influencing factors and see different aspects pending on our background, experience and thought patterns. Without being shown and open to seeing another perspective you can develop a very tunnel vision. It’s a fact, there are 2 women in this image it’s just a matter of perspective.
After completing this exercise and listening to other parts of the book, I try to apply the perspective principle in daily life with each new situation and/or problem particularly when working with a team. By being open to another point of view, you can gain a wider perspective on a situation or problem. It is important to ask questions, to listen and to try to see situations from another person’s perspective. By doing this, a lot of problems can be solved and innovative products and ideas can be created.
If you have any thoughts or a different perspective, I’d love to hear it through a comment below as I still have a lot to learn I know.