A friend and I recently got into a very interesting conversation recently about the way we look at the world or at least the perspective we bring to it. I suggested that everyone sees the world through certain “lenses” and that shades how they read human behavior among other things. She and I, for instance, always put on the money sunglasses. It’s the primary lens I use to make decisions. Now, it’s not the only pair of sunglasses I put on, to be sure. But it’s the pair I reach for first.
I gave my sister as an example. Sister wears caretaker sunglasses, I guess you could call them. Every year when we go see her for the Kentucky Derby, we end up in the same argument, and it goes the same way every time. She declares that next year she wants to buy box seats for us to watch the Derby from. She also usually throws in a limo ride as well. I always say that if we are going to pony up that kind of money for a horse race (hee hee), I’d rather spend it on betting, eating and drinking. The seats themselves aren’t that valuable in terms of the overall experience. But it wasn’t until I was talking to my friend about the money sunglasses that I realized why Sister’s feelings get hurt every time I say that. She’s trying to comfort or please us in some way. I’m reading it in terms of value. I don’t want to waste her money and I also want her to make the most of it, if she’s going to spend that kind of Cheddar on seating. But Sister sees it as a rejection of her attempt to please us or take care of us in some way. So, next time, I’m going to say “Hm, that might be fun,” and just change the subject.
It also explains why my friend and I don’t follow through on our desires to have better health and exercise practices in our lives. That is like the really glitzy pair of sunglasses you couldn’t resist picking up at the store, thinking you’ll wear them, but you always go to your”old faithful” pair of sunglasses instead. They sit there with all the other pairs of sunglasses, but they never get used. We’re busy chasing a buck instead, or working the spreadsheets or designing workshops or writing grants to get the fledgling consulting business off the ground. It doesn’t occur to us to go walk for thirty minutes. We’re not wearing those sunglasses.
I think realizing this is valuable. We can always switch sunglasses from time to time, but we have to realize we already have a pair on before we can switch. Being aware makes the switching process faster. It is useful to think consciously about whether or not one should be looking through money sunglasses or health sunglasses or human kindness lenses or what have you. Each situation calls for a combination of perspectives. At the very least, realizing that one pair of sunglasses dominates my viewing is beneficial to me. I like seeing the world through money sunglasses, because for me that doesn’t just mean keeping track of my bottom line. I attach so many more goals besides money to life, but for me money is usually the primary vehicle to get to those goals. Or at the very least, lack of debt. That’s the vehicle to many more personal freedoms. So at times it’s not about thinking how much money I’m making or owing — it’s about looking at a situation and saying can I really afford this experience or will it keep me from bigger and better things down the road. Or, should I loosen the purse strings a little because looking through some other pair of sunglasses is more important right now?
What pair of sunglasses is your “go to” lens?