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Leadership Thought #233 – Life Does Require Perspective

October 25, 2011

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Perspective matters!

I come across many books, magazines and TV shows these days that are selling simplicity and the quick fix to life.  One of the main themes is that all our lives are too busy and complicated. If we would just scale back and reprioritize what is most important to us, everything would be better.  The focus is squarely on the individual and what he /she feels they want or need.  All we must do is put ourselves first and everything will go our way.  Moreover, we shouldn’t settle for anything less than regular happiness and self-fulfillment, which is an unrealistic and often damaging perspective.

However, life isn’t always that simple.  Not everything is meant to be easy to navigate.   You cannot fit all your life solutions into a neat little box.  Sometimes there aren’t that many shortcuts or smooth routes you can take.  You must factor in numerous variables outside of your control that often conflict with your short-term comfort expectations.  We also share this world with other people and their needs will inevitably clash with our own.  Anything worthwhile requires some level of effort and sacrifice.

  • Positive relationships require on-going investment, commitment and understanding
  • Successful careers will always require work, perseverance, and some level of personal tradeoff
  • A grounded sense of personal economics should always factor into your financial decision making
  • Living a healthy lifestyle requires both knowledge and personal discipline
  • Certain work and life responsibilities, while not always chosen, must be met

The fact is that all decisions and behaviors have consequences, and we must learn and grow from them.  The ride can and will get bumpy at times but that is part of the journey.  Growth often requires some level of pain and discomfort.  There are no quick fixes.  Have you ever noticed that we never fully appreciate what comes to us too easily in life?

Babies and young children want what they want, and they want it now.  They aren’t all that interested in how their actions affect others.  They believe the world should exist to make them happy and meet their needs.  When things don’t turn out their way, they usually have a disproportionate emotional response and make things difficult for those around them.  I’m worried that many adults are starting to revert to this childish behavior.

Despite our relative wealth, comfort and convenience compared to any other time and history, we still want more.  We also get easily rattled by any level of adversity.  In a larger sense, as a society, it’s time for us to collectively grow up and take more responsibility for our actions and impact on others.  The world doesn’t exist to make us happy.  We exist to make the world a better place!  Life will always require some level of perspective, personal sacrifice, and hard work.