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Change Your Point of View
by Joe Gracia

You've probably heard of Stephen Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." He uses the word paradigm a lot, which simply means a belief, or a point of view.

Dr. Covey believes that you need to have a paradigm shift before you can make dramatic breakthroughs in your business success -- or your life.

Here's a story I heard a few years ago that illustrates the point perfectly.

Imagine you're in London's Heathrow Airport. While you're waiting for your flight, you notice a kiosk selling shortbread cookies. You buy a box, put them in your traveling bag and then you patiently search for an available seat so you can sit down and enjoy your cookies.

Finally you find a seat next to a gentleman. You reach down into your traveling bag and pull out your box of shortbread cookies. As you do so, you notice that the gentleman starts watching you intensely. He stares as you open the box and his eyes follow your hand as you pick up the cookie and bring it to your mouth.

Just then he reaches over and takes one of your cookies from the box, and eats it! You're more than a little surprised at this. Actually, you're at a loss for words.

Not only does he take one cookie, but he alternates with you. For every one cookie you take, he takes one.

Now, what's your immediate impression of this guy? Crazy? Greedy? He's got some nerve?! Can you imagine the words you might use to describe this man to your associates back at the office?

Meanwhile, you both continue eating the cookies until there's just one left. To your surprise, the man reaches over and takes it. But then he does something unexpected. He breaks it in half, and gives half to you.

After he's finished with his half he gets up, and without a word, he leaves.

You think to yourself, "Did this really happen?" You're left sitting there dumbfounded and still hungry. So you go back to the kiosk and buy another box of cookies.

You then return to your seat and begin opening your new box of cookies when you glance down into your traveling bag. Sitting there in your bag is your original box of cookies -- still unopened.

Only then do you realize that when you reached down earlier, you had reached into the other man's bag, and grabbed his box of cookies by mistake.

Now what do you think of the man? Generous? Tolerant?

You've just experienced a profound paradigm shift. You're seeing things from a new point of view.

Is it time to change your point of view?

Now, think of this story as it relates to your business. Perhaps you've been doing something the same way for years, but never stopped to think about how it could be done better. A little bit of research and brainstorming may make you see what you're currently doing in a whole new light.

Maybe, you've only been using newspaper advertising to market your business, and haven't been open to other methods of marketing.

Seeing things from a new point of view can be very enlightening.

Possibly, you've been annoyed at one particular client who may have complained about some aspect of your service, but when you actually take the time to understand his frustration and his point of view, you may suddenly experience an entirely different perspective.

After all, he may have just helped you to avoid problems with future customers.

Think outside the box. Don't settle for the status quo. Be open to suggestions. Be open to changing your point of view.

Things may not be what they seem.

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