Monday, May 11, 2009

broadening your perspective

throughout our lives and our daily tasks, we are often faced with opportunities to view situations and circumstances from different angles and perspectives. too often at these junctures, we allow our focus to hinder our sight; that is, we are so focused with our heads down churning away at the task at hand that we forget to look up and survey the vast openness that lies ahead of us. lately, i have really been struggling with my own vision. does it exist? how good is it? what is clouding it? am i looking too hard? *shrugging my shoulders*

growing up, i used to hear sayings such as "you can't see the forest for the trees" and "you can't see for looking." i thought i understood them, but i am learning that there is a bit more to the sayings than the initial message. they really speak to being able to maintain a focus on the "big picture" while simultaneously focusing on the tasks at hand. with my research, this has been a constant hindrance for me as, too often, i lose sight of what in the heck i am working towards while solving the little problems to get there. as a result, i am constantly looking back and making sure i know where i am going. is this normal for research? *shrugging my shoulders* i have no idea. however, i do feel that certain individuals have natural skills in keeping sight of the goal.

the analogy of the ostrich with his head in the sand is a great illustration of this. when we raise the altitude of our line of sight, we not only see where we want to go more clearly, but we are also given the opportunity to survey what other options (relevant or better) exist. this whole phd thing is not only intense training at managing a research project on your own, but it is also intense training in developing and using your vision and creativity.


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