Intentional Thinking Day 5: Mind Your Inner Toddler

Let’s talk about perspective.

The other day, my sister and I took our nieces to the beach. My nieces are four and two, and this story is about the two-year-old, who basically doesn’t listen.

On the way to the beach, we stopped for coffee and I got the girls cake pops, which I gave to them once we got to the beach. This turned out to be a mistake since we pretty much had the beach to ourselves as well as the attention of all the seagulls.

The seagulls started creeping up on us, eyeing the cake pop that my younger niece was taking forever to eat. My sister and I didn’t like how it was looking, so we kept telling her to eat faster. Of course, we must have sounded crazy to her, because she was looking at us like we weren’t speaking English.

Eventually, she got up to chase the seagulls away and dropped half of the cake pop in the sand. That’s when this huge seagull (well, huge compared to her) swooped in and hovered two inches above her head, trying to get at the cake. Being the auntie that I am, I ran over to shoo it away, but it was not fazed.

Luckily, my niece snatched up the cake and stuffed it into her mouth (along with a few grains of sand) and the crisis was averted. The seagull flew off.

Picture this: a stubborn toddler with her gaze focused on a piece of cake, completely oblivious to the seagull hovering just above her head, sharp beak poised to make a grab.

How would this whole situation have gone down differently if she had seen it from her aunties’ perspectives?

Aren’t our thoughts sometimes like that stubborn toddler? We can be so dead set on having our own way that we end up with a sandy piece of cake we had to fight for rather than the better, untainted version.

Having a strong will is important, but it’s also important to know when to yield to the advice of those around you who have a wider perspective, the ones who have been around long enough to know how ruthless seagulls are and who can see the one hovering just above your head.

Challenge: Choose a piece of advice you recently received and try to consider it from the perspective of the person who offered it. How does looking at your situation from someone else’s eyes change how you view your situation?

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