What Robin Williams Can Teach Us About Perspective

Yesterday the world lost one of the greatest comedians of this generation. Robin Williams played rolls we all remember, such as Mrs. Doubtfire, the Genie from Aladdin, and Patch Adams. However, he was more than a comedian; his works were often inspiring. As he battled with internal anguish and depression, he brought a smile to millions of faces through his characters and comedy routines. He had the ability to bring a fresh perspective to characters and make us laugh in unexpected ways.

However, I write this post today to gain inspiration from one of his iconic roles as the English teacher, John Keating, in Dead Poet’s Society. This role has been on my mind lately, mainly because of the incredible commercial Apple created, What Will Your Verse Be? (If you’re in need of an afternoon dose of inspiration take the time to watch it again.) However, when we examine Williams’ legacy I think of a specific scene from Dead Poet’s Society:

John Keating (English teacher): “Why do I stand up here?” (As he leaps atop his desk)

Student: “To Feel Taller.”

John Keating (English teacher): “No, thank you for playing… I stand on my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”

Maybe today is the right time to take a few minutes and look at your work from a different perspective. Often, in our quest to master our industry we can put on blinders to different perspectives on our major projects. In memory of this man who touched so many lives look at whatever is currently on your desk from a new point of view. Chances are that a fresh perspective can help maximize the opportunity and create improvements you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Many of us are currently managing teams. What Williams says next applies to this particularly:

John Keating (English teacher): “The room looks very different from up here. Don’t believe me? Come up here, come on.”

Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way.”

Don’t just settle for your change in perspective; invite your team to take a few minutes to perform this exercise. You will be surprised by the life an old project can take on or where the solution to a pesky problem might be generated. Adopting a new perspective can be intimidating. Don’t let the fear of the unknown or the fear of rejection hold you and your team back from trying. In the words of Robin William’s himself, “Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.”

Let us know if changing your perspective on project leads to new successes and vision. Comment below to let us in on the process and encourage others to try the uncomfortable. We can all benefit from your perspective too.


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