What is Your Perspective?

What is Your Perspective?

“Why did she die?” I ask demanding to know an answer. “Because the medicines ran out that particular week,” the orphanage director from Ghana, Africa responds. I wake up sweating in the middle of the night with that moment running through my head.

From that point in Ghana where the director of the children’s home told me that someone died of a treatable disease because monetarily she lacked the financial means for medicine, my perspective about our world was never the same from that second forward.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in a well off middle class family. Everyone has heard the phrase, “we all have problems.” Well, in my “subculture” at home in Chicago’s suburbia, the biggest problems for most people my age are that they have to sit all day at their desk at their job and then fit in 30 minutes of exercise on a treadmill after work.

The problems in various Chicagoan twenty-somethings’ reality (in their world or how they experience the world) that I have heard individuals lament about time and time again are that they have to get up and go to work day after day or that they have to go work out.

Everyone’s reality in this world is different based on his/her circumstances and where he/she comes from. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, reality is the state or quality of being real, resemblance to what is real, or a real thing or fact. People throughout the world all experience different realities. Depending on our perspective, we see reality a certain way.

Perspective. It all comes down to perspective. In the past year, I’ve pondered about what shapes and defines one’s perspective. Learning to look at situations from different perspectives allows us to understand the world and people better. One’s perspective is what makes us see things in this world in one light or another.

This is important because the way that we see the world determines how we live our lives. When I graduated high school, reality to me was that mostly everyone went away to college.

It is just the next step after senior year of high school, but I once heard an interesting analogy. There are 7 billion people living on planet Earth today. In Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change, Matthew Kelly elucidates that if we were to reduce the world’s population to 100 people proportionately: 57 of those 100 people would come from Asia, 21 from Europe, 14 from North and South America and 8 from Africa.

51 of those 100 people would be women, 49 would be men, 68 of those 100 people wouldn’t be able to read and write. 6 of those 100 people would own or control more than 50% of the world’s wealth. 5 of those 6 people would be U.S. citizens, 3 of those 5 people would live on the same street on the north shore of Long Island, 1 of those 100 people would have just been born, 1 of those 100 people would be just about to die, and only 1 of those 100 people would have been to college.

Maybe in your world, everyone goes to college, but on planet earth 1 in 100 people have a college experience. 1/3 of the world’s population is dying from lack of bread, 1/3 of the world’s population is dying from lack of justice, and 1/3 of the world’s population is dying from overeating.

Kelly’s description of the breakdown of the population on planet Earth challenges one’s view of the world. How do you see the world? In your world does everyone go to college, because the majority of the people on the planet still can’t read and write.

50% of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty, 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 270 million (1 in 7) children have no access to health services.

We all have a tendency to get caught up in our own little world. Experiencing new circumstances and meeting new people in person or through stories challenges what we are concerned about and brings us the gift of perspective.

Perspective is exigent for varied reasons, but it’s important to step back and ask ourselves, “how do we see the world?” because the way we see the world determines the way we live our lives.