Change your vantage point

The photographer Steve Simon in his book The Passionate Photographer has this advice:

“As we wander through life, we see the world from perhaps our most common vantage point: standing up, at eye level and at a distance from our subject that can be described as our comfort zone – not too close, not too far away. We need to shake ourselves out of our comfort zone and see how things look from different angles and perspectives – sometimes uncomfortable close.”

Just as a photographer or other artist learns to look at things from new angles, so too should we all try and bring a new perspective to the problems and challenges we face. Metaphorically at least, step closer or further away and ask what would happen if you looked at the problem from a different perspective? Sometimes this involves stepping out of your comfort zone, maybe looking at the problem from your clients or your protagonists point of view instead. Some things to consider about changing your viewpoint:

  • If I was on the other side of the table what would I be thinking of me?
  • What is the most important question I could ask to make this person know I am interested in what she wants?
  • How am I adding value to what this person does every day?
  • Am I exhibiting enough passion in my ideas or arguments?
  • In order to achieve what I want am I taking the right steps, fighting the right battles?

3 Comments on “Change your vantage point”

  1. rickrobinson says:

    Pete, you’ve encapsulated the problem-solving approach of Physicists in this post too. Any physical problem can be approached from a number of viewpoints – for example the forces involved; the energies involved; or the momenta involved.

    In most cases, when we encounter a problem, we’ll instinctively choose a viewpoint from which to consider it; and we’ll do that without consciously realising that we’ve made a choice. When we struggle to make progress towards a solution, it’s often because we’ve chosen – consciously or unconsciously – the wrong viewpoint.

    I’ll never forget a particular physics problem that I struggled for hours to solve by considering momenta. When I finally tried thinking about energy instead, I solved it in thirty seconds.

    So it’s always good to be reminded occasionally to step back and try looking at things a different way.



    • Peter Cripps says:

      Thank you Rick. I, as you might have guessed, was coming at this from an (IT) architecture perspective sprinkled with a dose of a photographic viewpoint also. You are right and this is what we hoped, that this approach can apply to any discipline. Hope you enjoy the new blog and visit us again occasionally.

  2. […] Pete’s post ‘Change your vantage point’ we are encourage to get an external change of perspective; in this post I am encouraging an […]

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