The End of the Telescope Through Which We Look

In his book, Be All You Can Be, John Maxwell shares a great leadership learning through a story about a boy and his telescope.

“One day little Bobby’s father came into the front room and saw the boy looking out on the street through the big end of a telescope. He said, ‘Son, that’s not the way you look through a telescope. If you look through it that way, you make the objects look much smaller. A telescope is to make things look bigger.’ But Bobby smiled and said, ‘Daddy, the bully who’s always beating me up is out on the street. I turned the telescope around because he’s my main problem, and I want to see him smaller than he really is.’”

The story’s message reminds great leaders to pause and reflect on how they choose to see the world and address situations. Are they over-magnified? Under-magnified? Maxwell suggests: “Most of us, instead of taking the big end of the telescope and reducing our problems, take the small end of the telescope and magnify our problems so that they look much bigger than they really are.” Problems, the out-of-the-ordinary, the exceptions by their nature, draw attention and are magnified. One of the great leaders’ responsibilities is to ask of themselves and the people whom they serve: “Are we looking through the correct end of the telescope?” Find the lens that best fits the situation or problem.

Rumi writes: “The world exists as you perceive it. It is not what you see… but how you see it… it’s not what you hear… but how you hear it. It is not what your feel… but how you feel it.” How we choose to see the world is a choice. Which end do you choose to use as you look through your telescope? Choose wisely; may you choose well.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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