How to find better perspectives for Aspies… and why it’s so urgent and important
Originally published in December 2009
By John Counsel
A few days ago — in December 2009 — I made another breakthrough connection that had bothered me all of my adult life. I’ve always struggled to learn as a student. The phrase “if you want to really learn something, teach it” has been my catchphrase ever since I graduated as a teacher.
In other words, if I wanted to learn something more effectively, I had to find a way to teach it to someone. Only then could I manage to understand the concept, principle, methodology or skills needing to be taught and learned.
During a discussion about Asperger’s Syndrome and its effects with my youngest daughter, Esther (20, and also an Aspie), I made a comment about how Aspie’s typically perform poorly on the subjective level, but outstandingly on the objective level — and promptly realized that this explained my own learning difficulty: as a student I function subjectively, struggling to apply the lesson to myself… something for which I lack the necessary neural pathways (or “hard wiring”).
But as a teacher, I function on the objective level… able to view the thing being taught at arm’s length, in proper perspective. It doesn’t apply directly to me in that context, yet I learn it as a by-product — a consequence — of having to teach it to someone else.
I can’t begin to tell you how exciting this discovery has been for me. It led me, immediately, to a cascade of breakthroughs in developing new systems and programs in my training business, which I’d been struggling to resolve for several years.
I plan to explore this new insight in much more depth in coming months. I get the insistent feeling that this could be a significant breakthrough for many other Aspies.
Some examples of how to find better perspectives
Here’s a handy way of looking at things to put them in proper perspective. It’s really just the angle or distance — or position/role — from which you see things and situations that makes the critical difference to the outcome.
In figure 1 we’re looking at a continuum from zero revenue at start-up to a target of $100,000 in revenue by the end of twelve months, yet at the end of NINE months our total accumulated revenue is just $25,000… one quarter of our target in three quarters of the time allowed.
Most people, at nine months, would be feeling discouraged or even ready to give up altogether. But the reality here is that you’re right on track to achieve your target.
If we’re on track, why are we feeling so negative about our progress so far?
And how is the perspective in Figure 1 so misleading?
Here’s the critical difference that a better, more accurate perspective can make in understanding a situation…
The simple reality is that Figure 1 creates a flawed perception of reality by withholding critical information… we’re actually seeing only a one-dimensional view of a TWO-dimensional object.
By shifting our perspective by 90 degrees, we can see the whole picture: a graph instead of a continuum — which represents only one axis of the graph.
Our progress is NOT a straight line… it’s an exponential curve. In real life, progress is usually an exponential curve — learning curves, growth curves, healing curves, etc.
This quote explains why exponential curves are so common in human performance…
In other words, “practice makes perfect”.
Be prepared, whenever you suspect that your perspective is providing insufficient, inadequate or misleading information, to shift your position to a better, more complete or accurate view of the situation.
Another way to get a better perspective on any situation
Next: The Freedom Path versus the Career Path: Stage 1 — How to become Independent in Four Simple Steps
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