Changing Our Perspective

by Michael L. Lauzon, CPA, MBA, Audit Manager

Posted on December 4, 2014

Does work ever feel so overwhelming that you can’t seem to gain any momentum? With any job, there are times where the work has to get done and big decisions have to be made. It can seem like something is in your way, but perhaps it is not time for a career or job change, but a change in perspective.

Usually the buildup of stress and worry that we create in anticipation of what needs to get done doesn’t live up the reality of what ends up happening. The tools and ability needed for the job have already been provided or are within you and it is just a matter of access and perspective.

A familiar story about someone overcoming the odds is David’s defeat of Goliath. The picture that springs to mind may be a little boy armed with a slingshot who got lucky against a mighty warrior. However, author Malcolm Gladwell recently wrote a book titled David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants that turns this familiar story on its head and challenges the importance of luck for the battle’s outcome.

Consider this: Goliath probably had terrible vision, would have been weighed down by 100 pounds of armor and his weapons would only have been useful in hand to hand combat, and as a result Goliath was not nearly as mighty has originally thought. On the other side is David, a boy who has been slinging stones his entire life defending his family’s herd of sheep. Historically, slingers were considered artillery and experienced slingers were capable of hitting targets up to 200 yards away, including birds in midflight. The stone that came out of David’s sling would have been traveling at approximately 35 meters per second and would have had the stopping power of a .45 handgun. This is not quite the typical version of this story, but, then again, it is all about perspective. Malcolm Gladwell gave an excellent TedTalk on this topic which is available online if you want to learn more: http://bit.ly/tedtalk_goliath[http://bit.ly/tedtalk_goliath]

Although most of us don’t fight giants, we do run into situations daily where a change in perspective would be helpful. For example, instead of seeing deadlines as arbitrary dates set by others, it could be helpful to view those deadlines instead as an opportunity to more efficiently utilize existing resources and improve focus and concentration skills. Similarly, instead of perceiving an annual audit as a cumbersome process that wastes valuable time, it could be viewed as an opportunity to recognize your strengths, to improve internal controls and learn from prior mistakes.

Changing our perspective is not about a fundamental change to who we are, but instead is a valuable tool used to reduce stress and limit the time wasted due to the buildup of stress. While there are many other tools, changing your perspective can be a way to gain momentum in your professional life. If we could spend less time worrying about that upcoming “Goliath” project, imagine how much we could get done?