Looking at Life Through New Lenses

I got new lenses in my glasses this week. They’re called progressive, and I’m therefore trying my best to look at this sign of aging as a positive step forward.

As a first-time wearer of progressive lenses, I received a few helpful tips at the fitting:

  • Point with your nose – in other words, look with your whole face, not just your eyes or your view will be distorted
  • Keep your head vertically aligned or you’ll lose focus.
  • Avoid the sidelong glance – you’ll be looking outside the field of focus
  • When you look down, lower your chin so you can focus on the floor.

When I don’t follow these instructions, it’s immediately obvious; everything outside the three-level field of vision is blurred and occasionally, dizzying.

While I adapt to the lenses, I’ve been looking for the inevitable parallels in my professional life. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Point with your nose

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
-Henry David Thoreau

When shifting direction, whether in completing a task or making a life-changing decision, I need to do so fully and head-on. A half-hearted approach will inevitably make what lies ahead difficult to discern or focus upon and sets me up for failure.

2. Keep your head vertically aligned

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.
-Tony Robbins

It is essential to have a vision and know my priorities. Then, I need to work at keeping my life aligned to that vision and the priorities I’ve set. Whenever I tilt away, I lose focus and increase the risk of stumbling.

3. Avoid the sidelong glance

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
-Alexander Graham Bell

When I shift my glance to what others are doing around me, while trying to continue on my path, I lose focus on the task before me. And I become less efficient and effective. If something else requires my attention, it is best to stop what I am doing and fully attend to it. Multitasking rarely results in either clear thinking or desirable outcomes. 

4. When you look down, lower your chin

If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.
-William J. Clinton

I’ll make mistakes. I will occasionally be called to account for the choices I’ve made. When that happens, I need to lower my chin, exercise humility and take some time to examine what went wrong. Once the lessons have been learned, it’s back to lesson #1: Raise my head, point my nose and proceed confidently in the direction I have set.

Unless life circumstances (or new lenses) force you to take time to refocus, it’s not always easy to discern whether you are making progress in your work or professional life. Sometimes setting aside a period of quiet introspection or enjoying a change of scenery is necessary to make that assessment. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance for both this summer; if you’re smart, you’ll make it a priority.

Comments are closed.