Look for the ‘Green’!

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For the fish, the entire world is under water. They don’t even know that there is life outside of water. The fish are incapable of coming out and searching for a new world. And hence, for them to believe that the entire world is under water may be acceptable.

However, as human beings, we have no excuse. Yet, we are caught up in our own worlds such that we don’t even know that there is a world out there that we have not yet discovered.

One of the dictionary meanings of the word ‘world’ is an area or sphere considered as a complete environment. I draw from this definition when I say ‘our own world’.  We consider our realm as a complete environment. Like the fish consider under water as the complete environment. However, our realm is not a real underwater world. Our world is made up of our own perspectives; our answers to questions. We form our own world, our own standpoint and then guard these so much that no one can challenge these. In other words, most of us now do not have a perspective; the perspective has gotten hold of us!

Your perspective is the world inside of which you live. It is like being a fish under water that refuses to acknowledge the other world out there. However, the difference is, this perspective is your creation, i.e., the realm that we consider as the complete environment.

A few thoughts for you to consider..

  1. First of all, try to remember, there is a big, wide, world outside your perspective, your creation, which is as real as yours is. It is just that you haven’t discovered this world yet. The acknowledgement that there is a perspective outside of yours is the first step to discovering a new you.
  2. The problem starts when you believe that your perspective is the truth. It is like the fish’s truth that the entire world is under water and hence the thought of discovering another world does not even occur to them. Remember, your perspective is not the truth; you have made it your truth.
  3. Let your perspective be malleable and not rigid. And this is possible only when you understand that your perspective is your creation. You will realize that you can create any perspective that works for you.
  4. Some perspectives are like boulders that we have put in front of us and then we complain that we cannot move ahead because of the boulders in front of us. Alter your perspective, and you will move these boulders out of your way. You will see new possibilities available to you.

There was a middle aged lady who worked in an organization that I recently consulted to. She was convinced that her colleagues, including her seniors and her peers did not like her and wanted her out of the organization. (This is what I mean by the ‘world you live in’) She lived in this world where she believed people did not like her and were out to get her. In one of my informal lunch conversations with her, I did a brief exercise with her.

I asked her to look around the cafeteria and identify everything that was green in colour. With an initial look of question, she jumped into the exercise and started to point me to all the green she saw – the artificial plant; the colour of the tiffin of one of the employees of her company; the green line on the lamp shade; a green checked shirt worn by a passerby; some green design on the coffee machine on the counter; and so on and so forth.

(Take a minute and do this exercise yourself – you’ll find this interesting!)

I then asked her two questions:

  1. Had she noticed these green things before I asked her to look for the green in the room?  Her response was – no.
  2. Did she notice any other colour when she went out looking for green? Again her answer was no.

You get what you look for. This lady had all this while been looking for evidence that her colleagues were out to get her and guess what she found? No brainer, isn’t it? She found the green – their every small action was considered as evidence that she was not required in the office.

I left that lunch meeting asking her to now look for the greatness in her colleagues. Go all out looking for their greatness in everything. It is very similar to going out and looking for the ‘green’. And when you go out looking for the green, you fail to notice any other colours. Initially, she had trouble doing so, however, with a little practice, she now only finds the greatness in people, at work and everywhere else. She misses everything else that does not point to the greatness of people.

My suggestion to you is to embark on a journey to question your view, your perspective and question it at every step of the way. Make sure you choose what you want to look for – remember you will only find what you go out looking for

Picture Courtesy : Kenea Phillips
Sameer Dua, Founder Director, Institute for Generative Leadership, India