Once while at sea on a naval mission during the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian general, Pericles’ fleet of 150 ships were left in darkness by a solar eclipse.
This confusing event left many of his crew surprised and thrown into a state of panic and fear.
Undaunted, Pericles walked up to a lead steersman, removed the cloak he was wearing and held it up in front of his own face. He asked the man is he was scared of what he saw.
“No, of course not.”
“So what does it matter when the cause of the darkness differs,” replied Pericles.
He then went on to explain to his men that this phenomena occasionally happened at periods when the body of the moon interposed between the sun and earth. And with that, he freed his people from their hear by truth of reasoning.
Perspective is everything.
When you can break apart something and look at it from a new angle, it loses power over you.
Fear can be debilitating, distracting, tiring, and often irrational.
As human beings, we often choose the ominous explanation over the simple one, to our own detriment.
If we are afraid of the obstacles that present themselves, its time to change perspective. As Pericles showed, its not about giving in to or ignoring fear. Its about breaking it down and explaining it away from another perspective.
We all choose the way we look at things. We can’t change the obstacles themselves – that part of the equation is set – but injecting a new perspective can change how the obstacle appears.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
How we approach, view, contextualize an obstacle, and tell ourselves what it means, determines how successful we are at overcoming it.
Many times, we can allow ourselves to become consumed and overwhelmed with something that ends up being actually quite small. But the right perspective has a strange way of cutting obstacles – and adversity – down to size.
This pandemic, recession and resulting socio-economic damage have presented many obstacles and much adversity for most.
But it is not some un-explainable omen that cannot be overcome, like Pericles’ crew must have felt when first thrown into the darkness of the eclipse.
There is a lot of ugly out there right now, but there is also a lot of good. There is also a lot of opportunity in this adversity.
Whatever you look for, you will find.
Break down what is in front of you, set a new path, capitalize on the opportunities hiding in plain sight, but most of all, keep moving forward.