My father had flown into Houston, Texas, to have dinner with a friend who had just returned from the moon. His name was Jim Irwin.
Jim was one of the Apollo 15 astronauts; my father had known Jim his whole life.
There he was, sitting across the table from the man on the moon, where he could ask any question about that amazing lunar trip that so few have experienced.
Entrapped, by his words he listened to every detail of Jim's journey. At some point, he said, "Jim, out of all those experiences you had up there on the moon, what do you consider to be the single most exciting?
Jim thought for a moment and then responded, "that's a tough question." After several more moments, his eyes lit up, and a wave of enthusiasm spread across his face as he said, "Trapper, I'll tell you what that one thing was. It was to orbit the moon and watch the Earth rise."
"To see this magnificent planet come up as a tiny blue and white marble, so small that you can reach out and cover it with your thumbnail. There is something about that experience which is quite compelling."
Then he followed up with these words that Trapper would never forget. He said, "If you want to get life's problems, life's challenges in their proper perspective, you should try that. Orbit the moon and watch the Earth rise. There is something about that experience that shrinks all of your problems down to size."
Jim left the Earth and gained a fresh perspective on life. He returned from his journey altered and energized with a new outlook on time and dedicated the rest of his life to the service of others.
This was a lesson of immeasurable worth for my dad, which he went on to call, "the principle of perspective."
You see, sometimes we can be so close to a situation, conditions, and life routines we fail to perceive or appreciate their infinite possibilities. A new perspective helps us discover our options.
Perspective is how we see things.
In Irwin’s case, it was the planet. He lived here! However, when he left the planet and viewed it from a totally new perspective, it changed his life. Our Earth, where billions of people live, appeared so small to him, that he could reach out and cover it with his thumbnail.
This compelling moment, among other experiences, moved him to face the big question, "what's really important?" In the process of discovering his answer, he was changed.
The point here is that your perspective can change instantly by your own realization of what's truly important to you!
I've had several of these "aha experiences" throughout my life. But one that stands out was when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
At that moment, I realized the true value and importance of the three gifts you and I are given each day: time, energy, and personal choice.
What about you? Have you had an experience in life that has given you a new perspective? A different outlook on a situation, opportunity, or condition?
Here some actual footage from that mission.
There are many experiences that can give us a new perspective.
Traveling to a different country. Experiencing a new culture can open people's minds to another way of living, thinking, and being.
Meeting people from different backgrounds: Meeting people from diverse backgrounds can challenge assumptions and biases can help us see each other from a different perspective.
Challenging life event: Overcoming a difficult event, such as a severe illness, losing a loved one, financial struggles or a significant setback in one's career.
Learning a new skill: Learning a new skill, such as a language, or musical instrument, can provide people with a sense of accomplishment and open up new opportunities and perspectives.
Volunteering or working with a charity: Helping others and giving back to the community can give you a personal perspective.
A significant life change: Getting married, having a child, or starting a new job can cause people to reevaluate their priorities and see the world differently.
A valuable tip.
Sometimes when we're too close to a situation, it can be hard to see the big picture. So find a place where you can be alone. Turn off and tune out where you can reflect on an event that's significantly impacted your life. Write down your thoughts and feelings about it.
Think about what you've learned from the experience and how you can use that knowledge to move forward. This can help you gain clarity and a new perspective on the situation.
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