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A box of lenses

A box of lenses

“I became a skeptic of one way of seeing the world. And I think it is what started me in my awareness that any worldview is superstitious.” - Ben Okri

It is one of those days where nothing seems to be going right for you; the job is too stressful, long hours and lowered energy, feelings of anxiety kick in to make things even more confusing. You look for clarity, and it is nowhere to be found. You rub your eyes in an attempt to restore your view of the situation, day or even life only to find it becoming more blurry and perhaps dimmed.

Stop for a second and check the lenses you have on, not the medical prescription ones but rather their analogy. The lenses I am referring to make up your composite view of the world, your values and beliefs of right and wrong, good and evil: your map of the world. A story is told about two sales explorers who went to Africa in 1910 when both of them came back to report on their findings; the first one described the situation as “hopeless” as none of the natives wore shoes. The other was exalted as he said: “A glorious opportunity, none of the natives have got any shoes yet!”. Could there be another perspective, seen through a different lens or even more, through a full box of lenses, for tackling your challenges, the adoption of which would cause the knots to loosen up and unfold into a more certain path for you to navigate?

Prescription glasses may serve you well for a period after which you would have to regularly update the lenses to accommodate for the changes in your vision, wouldn’t you? Similarly, you must update your view of the world by constantly seeking out new, and sometimes, contradictory information to what you already know and believe to be true. The counterintuitive challenge is that, given a choice between their worldview and the facts, it is somehow alarming how many people choose willful blindness and discard the facts, in an attempt to hold on to the false security of cognitive certainty. The afore may or not may be your case, and it is crucial for you to make sure you are not falling into this cognitive traps of a brain that evolved to preserve energy by taking the path of the least effort.

When was the last time you updated your view of the world? Think of a situation you feel stuck in and unable to decide on or move forward with, check what you believe about the situation and notice how your belief is helping in perpetuating the stuck situation. Find someone who has been in similar situation, use their lenses, see the world from their perspective and map out their strategy or the way they handled the situation; mainly their mindset, the belief system they have about it, and how they view themselves and their abilities. Next, identify the steps they took to get started and take baby steps at modeling their actions and adopting their belief system. Each step you take would be a cause set in motion that would, with persistence, develop a momentum that has the potential of propelling your life in your intended direction; you would like that wouldn’t you? Answer “yes” and a whole new world of possibilities would open up to you, allowing you to build on what you already enjoy and appreciate or even create a new way of life from scratch if you will, how would you like that?

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