The mountain can look very different whether you gaze at it from the valley, as you look up feeling small and dominated, or whether you are skiing downhill with a sense of freedom being on top of the world. Depending on where we live and where we stand, the world can seem so different. If we keep moving, we are bound to see a fantastic view. We may also stay where we are and look at things with different eyes, challenging our perspective on events and forcing ourselves to look at circumstances from a different vantage point.
In international relations, we get to benefit from different perspectives and enjoy various outlooks on the state of the world. However, we often come across people who choose to defend their positions, unwilling to see with different eyes, missing all sorts of hidden treasures, unaware of their path closing off new possibilities to look at the world.
I was fortunate enough to live on different continents and early in my life to get use to different perspectives, but I benefitted most from five years spent in Russia, which opened my eyes to another way to look at the world. I was often confronted with my views feeling resistance both from within and from my surroundings. I slowly came to recognize that there is no right and wrong; there is no best choice, there is only a choice to make in order to begin moving towards another point of view or away from it. Yet whatever may be the dilemma, the conflict, the misunderstanding, there is always a way out. We often search for existing positions, prevailing views to stay on solid grounds. To find a way forward, however, you need to look within, as you search around for the right course of action. There is always a way to come together, but it is a choice. Do we want to come together or not?
Amazingly enough, I have often come to the conclusion in my career that despite the professed goal of bringing people together around common problems, more often than not, people choose confrontation, standing on their positions as if their very existence depended on their views prevailing in the world. Why would anyone choose to always look at the mountain from the valley, missing the fantastic view from the top?
In fact, many people live their lives struggling against the current. They try to use force or resistance to will their lives into happening the way they think it should. There is an alternative. Like a sailor using the wind, trusting that the universe is taking them exactly where they need to be at all times, we may choose to go with the flow rather than resist, letting go of the notion that we need to be right and in control at all times. Ultimately it is just a matter of deciding whether you wish to prevail through resisting or to take a ride towards the unknown, trusting the current – the intent to come together and reconcile differences. It takes courage to go with the flow, as we surrender the notion that we know best or need to do everything by ourselves. But it is often exhilarating to discover fresh perspectives, and always inspiring to change our vantage point. It helps us connect within and around us with new resources to find a solution to all challenges. We are connected to endless resources, which always offer a new solution when we make the choice to try something new.