Use this one word to resolve conflicts and find solutions


One reason why I’ve loved my time living and working in Washington, DC is that it reiterates perspective. From a tourist’s perspective, this city is magical, with its odd thumping of simultaneous heartbeats of the metro, city life, and the mass of federal workers that flood in and out daily. From a cynic’s perspective, it’s a swamp town full of a jilted government and skyrocketing homeless population. I must admit, I’ve been the owner of both of these perspectives, but have since settled into the lovely gray area between the two.

Perspective is such a complex concept to explain, change, and baseline. I can remember from my time riding horses, falling was such a scary concept - not just the aches and pains that follow, but the sudden movement and the slow realization that I was on the ground and not on the back of a horse, which was obviously not intended. Once my perspective changed and I baselined it against that first fall, I knew that there were two sides: riding, which was “good”, and finding myself on the ground, which was “bad”.

It’s funny that the first fall from almost 20 years ago is still so fitting now as I’ve joined the business world. My perspective on my career changes yearly as I learn more and more – when I first joined the working world, getting a job was the “good” viewpoint, whereas now, I’m more concerned about the company culture, project timelines and resources, and longevity. It’s normal for a “refresh” to happen, where you’re constantly course correcting on the path to actual contentedness. We all need a change in perspective, and a change in environment – even a weekend camping trip – can provide a refreshing and different take on a situation.

Everything has dueling perspectives – light and dark, heavy and light, right and wrong. Usually we try to find the gray area between, and a quick change in perspective can provide the necessary empathy to reach a reconciliation point. Perspective also helps in planning strategy for negotiations: to really prepare, you must first think of what the other side wants, the reasoning behind said wants, and how they will try to get it.

Every experience is a double-sided mirror waiting to be switched on, so will you flip the switch and try the other side’s perspective?