Dr. Temple Grandin teaches that animals see things from a much different angle than we do and much like an autistic person does. They are attracted to the “center” of a picture and focus on that, rather than seeing the entire picture. Sometimes when you ride a horse past an object, such as a barn or structure going one way, they seem just fine, but when you take them past it again from the opposite direction, suddenly this structure is very threatening to them and they spook, as though they are seeing it for the first time. Animals don’t have the capacity the same as we do, to change their perspective of something, as their DNA doesn’t allow for this.
The way I see things has changed significantly over the years. This took practice and a lot of deep thought on my part, to begin to see things from a different perspective. Human beings often see something a certain way, until we decide not to and purposefully change our view of something. Unlike animals, we have the conscious ability to change our perspective, as we go along in our daily lives, but only if we choose to do so. This is a gift that we have, but is often under utilized by most people. For me, it has been the best discovery in my personal self growth, to date.
Several years ago, I had an organic and humane food blog that I kept up for several months before retiring from that subject. One of the things I emphasized on was our perspective about food. Changing that perspective helped me to make the decisions that I felt were right for myself and Kio, whenever I went to purchase groceries or prepare a meal. (this post is NOT about humane food, I am making a point here, so stay tuned)
One of the things I pointed out in my blog was our attitude towards eating food cheaply, without any thought of what it was doing to our personal health and the animals we were choosing to eat, as well as it’s impact on the environment. For example: I buy my eggs and meat as humanely as possible and this would include supporting local food producers, wherever I am living. I currently purchase my eggs from the woman who boards my mustang for me, because I like the way they are being raised, in an open clean pen, with nesting houses and access to fresh air and sunshine. I pay 4.00 for a dozen large eggs. When I don’t buy them from her, I purchase Farmer’s Hen House brand at Natural Grocers, because I know this egg producer has a good reputation for the treatment of their chickens and it meets my criteria. I spend 2.69 to buy those eggs for a dozen. I could buy 99 cent eggs at the grocer right up the street, but I don’t like factory farmed food, so I don’t do that. Some people gasp at the thought of spending 4.00 for a dozen eggs, or even 2.79 for a dozen eggs, because they can buy them so much cheaper at the chain store grocer instead. My perspective is that 2.79 or even 4.00 is not expensive for a significant source of protein that could feed 1 person 6 breakfasts, or 2 people 3 breakfasts, assuming you ate two eggs each. That’s a pretty cheap meal when you think about it. It only seems expensive to you, because you know you can get them for 99 cents. Most people wouldn’t think twice about spending that 4.00 on a soda and a bag of chips at the 7/11 store, but for eggs , they feel it is expensive. It’s your perspective that makes it expensive and once you change that, suddenly it’s not expensive anymore. I have this same perspective with most of my food. I may spend more to eat a certain way, but then again I never get sick and I am a healthy person because of it.
When I purchased my mustang so many years ago, the previous owner was not forthcoming about the lack of training and emotional issues that this horse had. I found out the hard way after I paid for him and had him transported to where I lived, 100 miles away. It was tough at first, really tough, because I came to the realization that this horse would never make a decent riding horse, because his fear and flight response was too high and someone could seriously get hurt on him. It would have been really easy to ditch him at the local sale barn, but then I took a big step back and realized how much he had impacted my life in so many positive ways. I began to add up all of the good things that I had received from this horse.
I became an equine massage therapist because of him and that led to a very successful business that I had for almost 4 1/2 years. It made me a better horseman and helped me to heal from all of the bad things that I saw and was involved with during my time in the horse industry, where I had been horribly misguided in my twenties as a young trainer. Buying him also gave me the opportunity to meet an international equine clinician that I had respected and admired for a long time, who after contacting her about my plight, agreed to come to Colorado and help me with this horse. It would be easy for me to be bitter about the purchase of my mustang, especially since I couldn’t use him for what I had intended, however, I gained so much more by not making a riding horse out of him and focusing on what he did have to offer, which was plenty. My perspective on my purchase of him, had changed.
As many of you already know, I am from the state of Minnesota and lived the majority of my childhood there. Over the years I have noticed when I tell people where I am from , they always respond with a “But it’s really cold there right?” or ” I hear the winters are terrible! I could never live there”, as if that is all that Minnesota has to offer, is the cold climate and harsh winters. It’s disappointing for me to hear about other people’s perspective of my home state, because it is so different than the perspective of those that actually live there. It’s true, Minnesota can be damn cold and the winters are much longer and more harsh than a lot of places are in the United States, but it never stopped a native Minnesotan from having a good time. They embrace the cold, the make the best of it and sometimes, they enjoy it. You don’t find Minnesotans sitting inside during the winter time, doing nothing. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They skate, cross country ski, ice fish, play broom ball, hockey, snowmobile and snow shoe. They embrace the cold, same as others who live in the desert, embrace the hot sun and blistering heat. What they don’t do is look at the center of the picture and focus on just that, the way an animal does. People from Minnesota look at the ENTIRE picture and see all of the other things that Minnesota has to offer them, aside from it just being cold.
An art expert becomes an expert because they have spent many hours studying and learning about art. They see things in a painting or a sculpture that the average person does not see. This is because they have been trained to look for it. They see more depth, colors, angles or even messages of what this art piece is meant to convey, that the rest of us will never see, simply because we are not looking for it. This causes us to miss out on the true meaning of what a piece of art can show us, by not noticing the details and different angles that it offers.
This rule can be applied to any situation or experience in our lives. Our perspective towards life can be a great tool and influence just about any curve ball that life throws at us, because it’s all in how you catch it and then throw it back.