A different perspective will help you break free from feeling annoyed, frustrated, or angry at someone whose thinking does not agree with yours. When you’re at the mercy of only one way of looking at something, you can’t really see any other point of view. There’s no flexibility in that.

And lack of flexibility can become a very serious affair. There are still 359 other points to view the object of contention from. The discovery here is that no ONE viewpoint allows you to view the whole picture except the 360-degree viewpoint.

a circle of colored pencils all different colors illustrating the points on a circle all of which are differentIn my last 3 posts, I’ve been sharing different perspectives that can alter the way you’re perceiving things, especially those disagreements that nurture polarization – others, and your own.  This is because a different perspective can easily change everything.

Truly perceiving something from another point of view will automatically change how you make sense of what you see.  As I postulated in an earlier post, perspective creates perception – and not the other way around.  You can’t change your perception of something unless you change your point of view.

The 360 Degree Viewpoint

In my last post, you explored a systems perspective.  You saw the freedom it offers when you can honor all viewpoints as valid and incomplete. So let’s explore this in yet another way – commonly called the 360 Degree Viewpoint.

In this 4th post, you’re going to learn a bit more about what’s called the 360-degree viewpoint. It’s important because it’s relevant to creating equanimity and peace of mind – the two keys to a much happier and more sustainable balanced experience of life.

This notion of viewing something from multiple perspectives comes up in a lot of places. It’s often called by other names – the big picture, the whole picture, the larger system, the Whole, the Universe, God, etc.  Here, you’re going to approach it from that systems perspective we explored in my previous post.

The Power of Viewpoint Flexibility

Imagine a point of contention that rests as the focal point of two or more observers. It doesn’t matter whether it’sthe number 360 with an arrow moving around it, encircling it, to demonstrate the 360 viewpoint that can see the whole picture political, racial, climate-oriented, or financial. Then imagine a circle of folks standing around that point of contention.

As you contemplate this image, you’ll start to realize that the contentious issue appears differently to each person because they’re viewing it from sightly different vantage points.

It’s true that each of those people has a host of experiences that are influencing the way that point of contention is viewed.

But imagine you’ve learned to rest in the power of viewpoint flexibility.

That means you can honor the view from each of the 360 points on that circle of observers because you know it offers a valid yet incomplete perception.

Here’s a reminder of something you know intuitively but may not consider too relevant to being happy in life.  But it actually very important and very relevant.

A circle only exists because of the 360 points that create it.
Part of a circle can never be the whole circle.  But the whole circle always contains all of the parts.

Rate Your Flexibility of Perspective

This is why developing the 360-degree viewpoint is freeing. It helps you avoid getting caught in any single perspective that excludes all others.  And, claiming any single viewpoint as the final ‘truth’ on the matter.

an old 5 kg scale with a pile of walnuts on one side and the other with a 1 kg weight only. The weight is heavier than the pile of walnuts. Illustrating the notion that a fixed viewpoint can outweigh the value of multiple viewpointsAgain, there are always at least 359 other points from which you can view any object of contention.

The discovery here is that no ONE viewpoint allows you to view the whole picture except the 360-degree viewpoint.

This seems pretty necessary if your goal is to truly embody the values of diversity, inclusion, awareness, and mindful presence to ‘what is’ in the here and now.

The 360-degree viewpoint is a great perspective for building inclusion -not only of people but their differences as well.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being totally inflexible (what you believe is the truth) up to 10 being completely flexible and willing to see all viewpoints as valid and incomplete.  However you rate yourself, notice how you feel as you read through the possibilities.  Noticing your emotional reaction/response can tell you more about the truth than your mental assessment alone.


1 -a stupid idea
2- I don’t believe what you’re saying
3- That’s just silly
4- It’s awfully hard to do
5- I understand it but can’t do it
6- I’m not good at it, but I believe it would be useful
7- I suck at doing it, but I want to embrace it as a powerful tool
8- It’s challenging but I like myself better when I do it
9- It’s one of the most useful tools I have for discussing difficult issues
10-It’s incredibly freeing and I try and use it as often as I can – especially when I’m starting to get upset

Wherever you rated yourself on this scale is just fine. That’s because it’s a valid AND incomplete perspective. Believe it or not, shifting your perspective and thus, behaving differently, can tip the larger system (our world) in a different direction.

The Butterfly Effect: Seeing Things From A Different Perspective

I first heard about the butterfly effect when studying ecology. But the roots of this notion are in chaos theory and weather prediction. It’s the idea that even the smallest change in the environment causes a non-linear impact on the complex system it’san image of an orange butterfly readying to land on an orange flower indicating the notion that even the smallest event can effect the larger system it's a part of a part of.   In the Jurassic Park movie, Jeff Goldblum describes it like this:

“It simply deals with unpredictability in complex systems,” he says. “The shorthand is ‘the butterfly effect.’ A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking, and in Central Park, you get rain instead of sunshine.”

This isn’t meant literally. Rather it implies an unpredictability that can be evoked by even the smallest shift in the system. In other words, even small shifts and changes in the system can cause vastly different outcomes from what was expected.  But here’s the point.

If expanding your flexibility of viewpoint, even by just a few degrees around that circle,
could change the course of the future, would you be willing to do it?

A Few Tips

  1. Notice how many times this week you find yourself polarizing against someone else’s point of view – political, religious, fashion, etc. – whether in person or in a TV show or news broadcast.
  2. Notice what happens inside your body when you try to detach from your own point of view and hold the other’s view as valid AND incomplete.
    a multitude of colored pencils with different colored tops to illustrate flexibility of viewpoint
  3. Pay attention to what you actually argue about this week, or want to argue about, even if you don’t actually say anything. Are you setting up something you like against what you dislike? If so, write down what these things are.
  4. When you do get in an argument, or start to bicker or tease, what are your expectations? Do you want the other to change? See your point of view? Admit they’re wrong?
  5. Become aware of what you’re for and what you’re against. It will most likely surprise and perhaps confound you. Giving it a fresh look allows you to begin loosening your attachment to that point of view and opening to the curious experience of the 360 Degree Viewpoint.

Your Next Step?

To learn more about how to work with this notion in your daily life, please feel free to take advantage of my FREE introductory Centered 24-7 mini-course on my website.  To gain immediate access, just go to www.RaginiMichaels.com.

Presentation slide for Centered 24-7 / Leading From The Eye Of The Storm free mini-course available at www.RaginiMichaels.comI hope this series has been helpful.  Please enjoy the mini-course or take advantage of my complimentary 30-minute talk with me. You can schedule a call on my website or just go to www.Calendly.com/rm–10/30min and pick a time at your convenience.

I’d love to answer any questions you may have or just get to know you better. It could be that this amazing perspective could change your life as it has so many of my students.

Meanwhile, much love to you,




***Images Courtesy of www.Pixabay.com