The ability to look at things in a new light is a powerful, but often overlooked skill. In today’s disposal society, it has become commonplace to discard the old and bring in the new. This applies to resources, situations, and even people. Rushing to replace something without consideration to save it can generate waste and bad will. Yes, there are legitimate reasons to “clean house” and start over, but before doing that take a moment to reconsider.
Even if we don’t immediately see it, often times what we need is already right in front of us. A simple change of perspective can reinvigorate a resource, situation, idea, or relationship. In our culture, the Greatest Generation and those prior were masters at “making do” and “making the most” of what they had. Unfortunately, society has evolved (maybe devolved) to where most are quick to discard things and relationships. Does it make sense to pause before doing that? I think so. Let’s consider some examples.
Equipment and technology – unfortunately, buying new equipment is often cheaper than fixing up older gear. Before trashing it and generating waste, consider whether or not the older technology is salvageable. Perhaps repurposing an old computer or appliance can prevent it from ending up in the dump. If not, donating that obsolete gear might be of use to someone else.
Real estate – it breaks my heart when I see a historic building being bulldozed to make way for new development. Conversely, I think it’s really nice when an organization repurposes an older property or structure in such a way that it preserves history and serves a new purpose. We have examples of both situations in our local community. I’m not a real estate developer, but I do think factors besides money should be considered when it comes to preservation. Who would have thought that preserving an old rail line in Atlanta (now the Atlanta Beltline) would have turned into such catalyst for economic growth? It just took one person to look at that rail in a new light.
Situations – in a previous article we talked about ghosting in which one party abandons a situation with no regards to it’s impact on other people. There may be legitimate reasons to “get out” but if that’s not the case, consider re-evaluating the situation to see how things can be resolved. The ability to help “make it work” is a much needed skill. This applies to the situations we find ourselves in at work, home, and in the local community. Should you stop doing business with someone because of one mistake? Consider the possibilities of learning from that mistake and strengthening the relationship. It’s been my experience that mistakes and hardship create more growth than good times. Seek ways to fix things.
Ideas – “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is the 5th Habit of Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” (one of my favorite business books). It’s great advice, and applies not only to communication skills but also to how we regard ideas. Avoid dismissing ideas because of your own bias or because they’re old. Consider viewing current ideas from different perspectives. Doing so will often yield new insights which leads to growth and transformational change. Refining a current idea is often a faster and less expensive route to innovation than starting from scratch.
People – unfortunately, there is considerable pop psychology advice about building one’s tribe of like-minded people focused on “what have you done for me lately”. This has fragmented society into cliques. The net result is that it’s more difficult than ever to build consensus between people with different ideas, culture, or social standing. The January 2023 attempts at electing a Speaker of the US House of Representatives is a recent example of ideological dysfunction – and that was within the same political party! Social media further amplifies stereotypes and biases. There’s a fine line between satire and harmful speech. Consider building your tribe with people of different ideas and backgrounds. Find reasons for relationships to work. You might be surprised at what you learn if you take the time to listen by seeing (or hearing) things in a new light or perspective.
Make this a transformational year of positive growth by viewing what’s already around you in a new light. You might be surprised that doing so saves you time and money. Even more importantly, it’ll strengthen your relationships with other people.
[Joe Domaleski, a Fayette County resident for 25 years, is the owner of Country Fried Creative – an award-winning digital marketing agency located in Peachtree City. His company was the Fayette Chamber’s 2021 Small Business of the Year. Joe is a husband, father of three grown children, and proud Army veteran. He has an MBA from Georgia State University and enjoys sharing his perspectives drawing from thirty years of business leadership experience. ]