June 21, 2010

Answer is 3

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , , at 2:14 pm by lindaslongview

I have had a terrific opportunity to spend some time traveling in Europe on vacation.  There have been many opportunities to learn a bit about perspective, but a really great lesson has been taught to me via automobile parking in France.

As Americans accustomed used to large roads, large cars, and plentiful parking (most of the time), the roads, cars, and parking spaces in urban France were downright micro.  After a few days in France, we became more and more acclimated to the very challenging parking of the densely populated urban areas (often requires curb jumping for success).

When we arrived in Saint Tropez, there was a mix of the micro and large cars and thus the parking situation was mixed.  As my husband backed our rented European car into a marked parking space at our hotel, I was giving him guidance. He asked me, “How many spaces were in the empty back area of the lot?”

My first answer was 2 (from my American perspective based upon the striping of the spaces).  My second answer was 3 (when I realized that the spaces were large relative to the size of our small European rental car and there was plenty of room for another one next to ours based upon my recent acclimation to Paris parking).  My third answer was 4 (when I realized the same was the situation on the opposite side of the back lot based on the more recent acclimation to Marseilles parking which is even tighter than Paris!).

My answer sounded something like 2…, 3…., 4, because my perspective was shifting.

Afterward, my husband gave me a hard time about being unhelpful and indecisive, but it made me realize that he had assumed a single answer to a multiple answer question if you consider multiple perspectives…

In the morning, there were three cars parked in the back lot, so the answer was 3! Perspective was indeed important.

My long view advice:

  • When asking for guidance, recognize that advice might not assume a specific perspective.
  • Be patient with difference in perspective until a specific perspective is defined.

Are you considering the affect of perspective?

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1 Comment »

  1. Willis said,

    I think if this conversation would have happened between my wife and I, it would sound like: “I wonder if there are any space to park in back?” and her answer would have been “it depends on what you call a space” – but we’d be in the same boat! thanks for your advice.


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