When I was a young man, a friend and I decided to take a ride up to the lake. As we were cruising along the interstate I noticed that she was looking up toward the clouds not saying a word. I asked what she was doing. She said, “How high is the sky”? I was a little puzzled and asked her what she meant by that. She again repeated, “How high is the sky?” I was silent for a minute, since I was trying to figure out my answer; I then said “I guess it depends on what you think is the definition of the sky.” I asked her how high she thought the sky was. She said, “Probably higher than the clouds but I don’t know how much higher.” We pulled over in a rest area that was just up ahead, got out of the car and looked skyward. At that moment it dawned on me that I had become prone to not looking at things from various points of view. It was an ”aha moment” for me! I began to look all around my surroundings and was very excited by my new “vision”. This new vision included truly seeing other people there at the rest stop, seeing all the different trees, flowers, the entire landscape. I had been seeing the world as if I had blinders on. I don’t know how long I had such a narrow vision of my world or when it started but I was very excited about my new “vision”. Ever since then I have almost always had that full 360 degree view of the world. I say almost because at times I catch myself slipping into that “tunnel vision” way of seeing/understanding something. When that happens I have to figuratively step back and take a full view of what is before me. At times the “stepping back” requires that I talk to someone else that I trust to help me get a different view of what confronts me. This approach of talking to another is very effective. I believe this has to do with perception, and perception is a very complex concept. It is influenced by many variables including what we already “know”, what our experiences have been, what our belief system is or has been, our confidence level, our unique culture in which we have grown up, and our successes and failures. But if we can acquire “360 degree vision” we avail ourselves of numerous possibilities and options as to what is confronting us. Then, we can assess the various options and understand, respond, interact with, or just continue to observe and ponder. I believe this approach allows us to be proactive instead of reactive. At times there is nothing wrong with being reactive; like when we touch a hot stove or about to step on a snake. At these times I love that I have the capacity to be reactive. However, there are many times when it is best to be proactive; to be able to see several options, weigh them, and then choose the one option which we think makes the best sense in terms of moving forward in our life.
So, how high is the sky? Is it as high as the clouds or is it infinitely higher, way beyond the stars? Or is it somewhere in between? You have the capacity to decide. Your perception may be in concert with many other individuals; or it may be quite unique. But I think what is really important is that you give it the “360 degree view.”