Looking at the World from a Different Perspective
Once upon a time, a man lived alone in a village. As he grew old his eyesight deteriorated until he could not see at all. The old man would go to the woods every night to get water from the pond. Since he had spent all his life in the village, he knew his way by heart and easily managed to bring back water every night despite losing his vision.
What puzzled the villagers was that although the old man was blind, yet he would carry around a lighted lamp. They simply could not understand why he would want to carry the extra burden of the lamp, yet they never questioned him of the fear of sounding rude. After all, the old man was a good person and they did not want to hurt his feelings.
One day, a group of young travelers stopped to spend a night at the village and they came across the old man when he was coming back from the woods; pail full water in one hand, a lighted lamp in the other. They saw that the man was blind, yet he was carrying the lamp. To them, it was utter stupidity! Why would you carry around a lamp when you can’t even see!
They could not help but laugh at the old man and started making fun of him. As he came closer, one of them asked, “Hey old man! You are blind as a bat, you cannot see anything! Why do you still carry a lamp then?”
“Maybe he is blind AND stupid!” said another boy and they all roared with laughter. Instead of getting offended, the blind man kindly smiled at their remarks and explained, “My dear sons, yes you are right, I am blind as a bat and cannot see a thing. Neither do I need a lamp to light up my path but I am not carrying the lamp for myself. I carry this lamp for people like you, people who can see.”
Curious by his answer, a young man inquired further, “What do you mean, old man?” The old man continued to explain, “Well, since I am blind I can’t see you, but my lamp makes sure that YOU see me and not bump into me. I know it gets really dark out here so you may ever end up pushing me over if you don’t see me. This is the reason that I carry the lamp with me every night!”
The group of travelers felt ashamed for calling the man stupid when he was smarter than all of them. They immediately apologized for their behavior. “It is okay!” said the old man, “You remarked on what you saw and understood. It happens to all of us! We fail to realize that there are more than one ways to look at things and forget to take other people’s perspective into consideration.”
The group of travelers realized their mistake and promised to always stay open to different opinions. They apologized again and the old man forgave them. He invited them to spend the night at his house!
MORAL: Always be respectful and try to see things from other’s point of view. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s wrong!
A Selection of Perspective Quotes
“I don’t go by or change my attitude based on what people say. At the end of the day, they, too, are judging me from their perspective. I would rather be myself and let people accept me for what I am than be somebody who I am not, just because I want people’s approval.” ~ Karan Patel
“Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.” ~ Sterling K. Brown
“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.” ~ Denis Waitley
“Each person does see the world in a different way. There is not a single, unifying, objective truth. We’re all limited by our perspective.” ~ Siri Hustvedt
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