I was never a science type growing up. I mean I used a magnifying glass from time to time but not to look at molecules and see them up close but to concentrate the heat from the sun and burn leaves and yes even the occasional ant or spider. But this isn’t about burning bugs, today we’re going to look at the way we look at problems in our lives. Do we look at our problems through a magnifying glass or a telescope?
The purpose of the magnifying glass is to take something small and make it huge. You’re able to find all fo the details and all of the little nooks and crannies in the object. You can see things that you never knew were even there. You’re able to see even some of the smallest molecules as if they were larger than life!
The purpose of the telescope however isn’t to make something bigger. It’s purpose is to help up see things as they really are. Telescopes take a star far off in our solar system and brings it up close so we can see it as it is. The telescope doesn’t enlarge an object. It brings it close enough to observe clearly.
When we face problems and look at them through a magnifying glass, we’re making them huge. We’re blowing them out of proportion. We’re taking what often is small and often insignificant and turning it into a huge mountain or insurmountable issue. We hear someone say something and our assumptions get the better of us. We see someone doing something that we might never do and our perception of the problem makes it some ridiculously terrible event. The magnifying glass tends to make mountains out of mole hills. We do this as parents. We do it as leaders. We do it at home with our spouse. We do it with our neighbors. Someone does something to us and we all of a sudden explode and quite frankly overreact. Magnifying glasses are great tools! But they’re used to see what can’t be seen with the naked eye not blow up what’s easily visible.
If looking at our problems through a magnifying glass isn’t the right way to do it, then can we learn something from the telescope? Remember how a telescope positioned on the window sill of your childhood home allowed you to see constellations that you couldn’t with just your eye? Remember how it made the star you could barely see appear as if it was right outside your window? That’s kind of how we should approach problems. Our goal isn’t to make them larger than they are but instead we need to look at them for the size they truly are. We’re not supposed to minimize them or enlarge them, just bring them close enough to ask the right questions. Looking at our problems or challenges through the lens of a telescope brings into focus and allows us to see its real size and real scope and real distance from us.
When troubles arise it’s important to listen to the words of others, but don’t let the perceptions of the world around you act like a magnifying glass turning the situation into something far more grand and terrifying than it really is. When problems hit, just pause for a moment before you act. The faster you act the more reactionary you’ve become. The more likely you are to view your problem through a magnifying glass and overreact instead of form a well thought out response.
Magnifying glasses are very important but when it comes to situations that aren’t what we expect, it’s better to use the telescope than the magnifier. It’s healthier to deal with problems by keeping them in their proper perspective rather than making them far bigger than they ever really were. So then next time you come face to face with a challenge, problem or unexpected situation – pause. Them make sure you grab your telescope instead of your magnifying glass. Look closely and see what’s really going on. Ask questions before making judgements. Then make an informed decision and plan for dealing with what’s happening.