You might wonder what this photo represents? And what is the importance?
Let me set the scene: I was sitting on the veranda at the wonderful Oyster Box Hotel and my new phone was placed on the table in front of me. I clicked the camera button by mistake and a few minutes later I happened to see the picture above on my phone screen.
Parts making up the whole
Let’s dissect the composition and identify the parts making up the whole. Starting at the top and working in a clockwise direction from 1 o’clock, first you see the top of my upright black computer bag. At 2 o’clock is my big toe. Next comes the black and white paisley pattern on the slacks I was wearing. Conveniently at 6 o’clock is the divider between tiles which are part of the beautiful patterns on the veranda floor. The strange white article at 8 o’clock is a foot of the metal table leg. And then you get to the computer case again. The patterns in the top left corner are part of seat of one of the chairs.
So, if I had looked down through a tiny crack in the pattern on the table surface, that is what I might have seen. This would have depended on my exact position and the angle at which I was peering through the crack. But how often do we see only what is in front of us? In my case, I was looking at the computer on the table, Ed and Izzy seated at the table with me, the people around me and all the elements which I selectively focussed on - or which happened to ‘catch my eye’. But, here was this whole exciting, beautiful world under the surface. And in this case, I might have missed it if I hadn’t clicked the button on my phone by mistake. If I hadn’t immediately tried to work out the items in the picture, I might have had a battle to identify them. In this case, the white table leg would really have been confusing. I had to look beneath the table to see what I had photographed!
I stopped to consider what this experience and these reflections might mean to me? More often I need to stop, take my attention away from my immediate focus, be curious and look in a different direction.
By this time I was really curious and decided to experiment. What would happen if I moved my phone just a fraction – only a millimetre or two, and then took another photo?
I did, and Photo 2 is what I saw! This was very different to what I had seen in the previous picture.
So my questions for you are:
- How often do you stop and see what is below the surface?
- And then, how carefully do you identify each item in the composition?
- In other words, what can you do to deconstruct the complexity of the picture?
- If you shifted your view just a fraction, how different might your perception be?
- Or if your view is captured in the first photo, how often do you stop to consider that another person may be seeing a view just a few millimetres different to yours?
My invitation is to use this metaphor and try the same exercise. And then expand on it by looking not only downward, but upward, north, south, east and west.
My BIG question then becomes, in relation to a specific issue, how can you use the experience of going through these questions to reflect and then make meaning of your view? Following that, how are you going to experiment with new behaviour to enhance your ‘way of being’?
I look forward to hearing from you. For feedback and information on coaching or leadership development please contact Brenda Eckstein at email@example.com or +27 33 342 5432.