Merge's Blog

When you shift your perspective, you acknowledge other viewpoints (which is a good thing)

A couple of weeks ago, this interesting photo popped up on my news feed with the intriguing question – Is this cat walking up or down the stairs? Before I give you the definitive answer at the end of this post, why don’t you hazard a guess?

CatStairs[Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/I56Uepu]

Whatever your answer, right or wrong, know that people answer roughly 50-50 in both camps – half say up and half say down. The difference of course has to do with your perspective, and when you shift your perspective, the answer changes. In fact, I blogged about just this topic a few weeks ago in When you shift your perspective, you can change your reality in which I recounted the parable of six blind men and an elephant.

But back to the topic at hand – why do different people view the same situation differently? The answer lies, at least partially, in that we tend to see what we expect to see. And what we expect to see is based on our personal context and our past experiences. Yet if we can step back and acknowledge that a different viewpoint is possible (as I hope you will do with this photo), we can get a completely different outlook on the situation. A reality that is also very applicable in the workplace.

The next time you don’t concur with someone else’s point of view, try to see what they see. Your opinion may not necessarily change, but at least you will have considered alternate possibilities.

Oh yeah, and the definitive answer? The cat is coming down the stairs. How do I know? Because if you look closely, you’ll see the lip on the edge of each stair. If the cat was going up, the lip on each stair would be a tripping hazard for humans taking these stairs. And no sane person would build stairs with a tripping hazard. Or would they? 🙂

Before you go, give us your original (before you read the explanation!) answer – is the cat going up or down?

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