“There’s a bigger picture. Just step back from the canvas.”
—attributed to Ilona Simone
One of my favorite Netflix Original Series is called Tales by Light.
Each episode highlights a specific masterful photographer, examining their world in great detail. The techniques they use to capture our world include a wide variety of lenses, and viewing their subjects from multiple levels.
From ground level to the top of a ladder, or a bird’s eye view from a hot air balloon or drone, their images reveal more of their canvas, and a far more interesting and beautiful perspective on their subject.
Where in either your personal or professional world are you simply too close to a particular subject? Where would stepping back to gain greater objectivity and perspective shed more and better light on your view of your world?
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”
—Og Mandino, 20th Century American Author
Image from Flickr by Kristopher Roller
Every summer when I was young my entire family headed to Camp Indian Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Back then, our trusty flashlights were essential tools for nighttime navigation in finding our way back to our cabins.
On clear nights with virtually no ambient light for miles, we would often turn off our torches to enjoy the spectacle of the night sky, filled with what must have been millions of stars.
The flash lights were only helpful in seeing 50 or so feet ahead. The darkness allowed us to see the light of stars, and perhaps galaxies many light years away.
Where would a greater appreciation for both the light and the darkness of life reveal even greater insight into yourself and the world?
“There are glimpses of Heaven to us in every act or thought or word, that raises us above ourselves.”
—A.P. Stanley, 19th Century Dean of Westminster
Thor’s Helmet Emission Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, U. Arizona
I love the idea that if we shoot for the moon and miss our mark, we will still land among the stars. How often do your eyes rise to the heavens to explore and pursue the possibilities of life? How often do you navigate your world looking down or only at your next step?
With the right lens or perceptional filter, today’s quote suggests we can use every action, thought, or word as a catalyst, to become a better versions of ourselves.
Ask and answer these three questions, to open up the heavens even further:
• What did I learn from the action that I just took, to improve my current situation?
• How can my current thinking be more hopeful, optimistic, and creative?
• What do I hear or read that can inspire me toward a new level of excellence?
Consider creating a question or two for yourself that, once answered, can raise your life to new levels of success and life satisfaction.
“It’s hard to see a halo when you’re looking for horns.”
—Cullen Hightower, late American quip writer
Image from VG24
Are you a good person?
Most of us like to think we are – and could even prove it through the kind and generous gestures we make throughout the day.
Take a moment to look at the variety of people in your personal and professional worlds. How many have the same size halo you see above your own head? Perhaps more disturbingly, how often do you see their not-so-pleasant horns, because you are focusing on their faults and shortcomings?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I need to get to know him better.”
How can you, too, rise above your own fault-finding perceptions and discover far more halos in those around you?
“Examine everything as though you had just taken off blinders.”
—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self-Meditation
Image from The Bittersweet Score
Imagine losing your sight for 24 hours. Perhaps you had a surgical procedure and were required to wear blinders to protect those sensitive windows into the world.
What would that be like? What would be the impact on your other senses? Perhaps most interestingly, what would you observe and appreciate even more when you removed the blinders?
Although this is an extreme example, consider that fact that we all wear blinders or at least perceptual lenses by which we view the world. Some are particularly dark and negative, doing a number on our happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Take off your blinders or at least your perceptual sunglasses today and look deeper and completely at the people and things around you.
Feel free to reply to this post to share what new, brighter, and surprisingly different things you observe.
“See the good all around you even if you have to squint.”
Image from lasikmd.com
If you are like me, your eyesight is not what it used to be. Perhaps you need glasses to drive at night, or to read. You may even need longer arms as you “trombone” food labels in order to read the ingredient list.
Having 20/20 vision has great benefits, but when we look at the world, including the folks in our lives that are taking this journey with us, it may not always serve us to have clear and complete objectivity. As an example, as we look at the weaknesses and faults in others, we know full well we have our own share.
Where would a bit of squinting help you overlook some of the unimportant things around you, and help you see a lot more good available in your world?
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
—Earl Nightingale, American self-help speaker and author
photo from Flickr by kerolic
Some say that a vision is a dream with a deadline. Nightingale points out that this “time thing” is a primary cause of many people giving up on their dreams and visions. Of course many, if not most, rewarding futures take considerable time. That is what makes the accomplishment worthwhile.
Another interpretation of today’s quote is the saying, “It’s more about the journey than the destination.” Each small step toward your dream can be a source of satisfaction on its own, without your having to see the mountain you have to scale as unachievable or not worth the time it will take.
What dream or personal vision for the future will you commit to today, knowing that every day lived with enthusiasm and passion is what the journey is all about?
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”
– Henry David Thoreau, American author, philosopher, and transcendentalist
Image from Flickr by martinak15.
What does it mean to live your dreams? Where would you live? How would you spend your days? Who would be with you on this journey? What purpose would you fulfill? What memories would you make?
Answer at least one of the questions above and take at least one committed action toward living your truest life today.
Feel free to come up with your own questions on this subject, and keep selecting daily actions to live the life you once only dreamed about.