A couple of things happened this last week, which made me realise how pervasive our own perspective on life is, and how we lose sight of it, so easily.
You might be aware that Amazon recently released Alexa and the Echo Dot.
Simply put, Alexa is an AI assistant, able to control your music, diary, facts and even lighting and heating, with the right setup. Alexa is activated and controlled by voice.
I got one for the lounge, to try it out. (We now have it in the bedroom and my office too.) Once linked to Spotify, you simply say something like: “Alexa, play some Jazz, please.” And then a Jazz playlist starts playing. “Alexa, turn this up, please.” and the music is louder.
How this made me think of our perspective on life.
Having grown up recording songs to tape from the radio, and splicing cassette tapes together, or spending hours making a “mix tape”, done in real time, I think Alexa is pretty amazing.
My 6-year-old daughter Amélie however, does not think it is all that amazing and is happy to just start using it right away. Her first experience of listening to and controlling music is an iPhone and Sonos. She has no understanding of a world where voice controlled systems cost £50 and can be in every room in the house.
The fact that this is all quite amazing is just my perspective, not hers.
I am acutely aware now that I also have other perspectives on life that might be just as outdated and irrelevant to the world Amélie and Olivia (3½) are growing up in.
Whilst I can clearly see that I would in no way want them to think that the reality of the world today is made up of cassette players and VHS, it is much harder to discern which of my other perspectives are outdated for their reality.
Another reminder of this struck me when we went to visit Windsor Castle at the weekend with my brother, Nico.
He handed over his student card at the ticket office and the girl behind the counter said “Oh Wow”, before handing it back to him.
I had an inkling why this was, but the conversation made it clear. Nico is doing his PhD at The Guildhall in London, and the girl serving us was trying to get into The Guildhall and told him about how tough the audition was etc… As we walked away, I pointed out to Nico that he should never forget that his “everyday” is someone else’s dream.
Nico has lost perspective on his own achievements. He has two Masters degrees, published a book, completing his PhD, is able to deliver a lecture in Holland, in Dutch (Not his first or second language) and gets to travel the world doing exactly what he loves doing.
Again, I think that is pretty awesome, and I am sure the girl at the counter would too, but for Nico it has become his “everyday”.
We all do this all the time.
Take some time to reflect on your own perspective, and be more aware of it the next time you meet someone.
Author: Pieter K de Villiers
Pieter K de Villiers is slightly obsessed with systems. The systems and process automation he builds for small businesses are transformative, to say the least. Pieter is a Co-Founder of Barefoot Digital and the Amazon best-selling author of “Barefoot Business: 3 key systems to attract more leads, win more sales and delight more customers without your business killing you”.