Last week I took off from Newark amidst grey skies and driving rain. Twenty minutes into the flight I looked out the window: the tops of the clouds below us indicated that the weather was still dreary on the ground, but from our vantage point it was a beautiful day.
If you go up high enough, it’s always a beautiful day.
This is true of life and work as much as of the weather: even when it’s raining cats and dogs, the sun is still shining above the clouds (but this is hard to remember when it’s raining on your parade). We can’t change the weather, but we can choose whether we take the street-level view or the 60,000-foot view. This is what “keeping things in perspective” is all about.
There’s a flip-side, of course: just because it looks like a beautiful day around you doesn’t mean it isn’t hailing on the ground: having your head in the clouds all the time is as limiting as being perpetually stuck in the weeds.
The key is realizing that perspective matters, that we can choose our altitude. The challenge is knowing which altitude to choose.