Changing your perspective

Changing your perspective

It is Tuesday 9 August 2022, and I am taking my morning walk on Senggigi beach. Senggigi is an established suburb on the west coast of Lombok island, about twenty minutes north of the capital, Mataram.  The suburb of Senggigi is spread out along nearly 10 km of coastal road with breathtaking views across a series of bays. From the numerous lookout points along the road, you have a view of the white sandy beaches and turquoise water.  

I am walking on the main beach of Senggigi which is home to the ferry terminal for the fast boat to Bali. On the southern end of the bay, you will find a huge reef that provides shelter to a variety of marine life and exquisitely shaped coral – perfect for snorkeling. This is also the main beach where locals come to enjoy time with their families over weekends. 

On Tuesday however, it is very empty, besides a handful of hawkers selling local pearls and sarongs. We had just spent a long weekend in Kuta in the south of Lombok, which is a surfing and tourist hotspot, and I was glad to be back to the peace and serenity of Senggigi. 

As I walk along the beach I engage with the local hawkers and since most of them know me it’s not a commercial interaction. 

“Selamat Pagi” (Good morning)

“Apa kabar” (How are you?)

“Baik” (Im good)

“Jalan jalan” (Going for a walk)

And then I quickly run out of Bahasa vocabulary. Fortunately, he speaks much better English than I speak Bahasa.

“Di mana kamu?” he asks. (Where were you?)

I explain that we were in Kuta for the weekend. I also go on to tell him that I didn’t really like it because it was “sangat bisuk”- very busy. I prefer the quiet and peace of Senggigi. 

Without blinking or hesitating he responds: “Good for you, not good for me.”

At that moment I felt like the soft white beach sand could just swallow me in. I was a typical foreigner who was always viewing the world through my privileged lens. These hawkers who come to trade their goods every day need tourists and customers to survive. Although tourist numbers had picked up substantially in Kuta there were very few tourists visible in Senggigi. It made me realise how important it is to constantly be aware of different perspectives.

We all get caught up in our own worlds, and our busyness and we sometimes lose sight of these different perspectives. One of the best ways to get this different perspective is through traveling. Spending time in different cultures, eating different food, speaking different languages and engaging with different people. Having a different perspective makes you more aware of how diverse the world is and allows you to create a different future beyond your comfort zone.

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In my previous life as an advisor to government and academia, I developed the 50:30:20 principle to help leaders think differently about the future. 50% of their time should be spent on their daily deadlines and tasks at hand. 30% on their 12-month targets and annual budgets. And then 20% of their time on the distant horizon, we talking 15 to 20 years out. The space where you need a different perspective. This ratio seems reasonable until they realise that 20% of their time equates to 4 days a month.  If you are not doing this you end up in some undesirable future or worse you get disrupted. Leaders who are successful at embracing this concept become the shapers of the future, the groundbreakers and the trendsetters.

What if we apply this principle to our personal lives? 50% of our time on getting our work deliverables and deadlines out of the way. 30% of our time on what we want to achieve the rest of the year, the new year resolutions. And then 20% of our time working on what we want our future to look like. 

Where do you see yourself in 15 years? 

Can you actually picture it? Visualise the scenario in as much detail as possible. 

In order to visualise that future, you need a fresh perspective. One that is not bogged down with deadlines, targets, month-end bills and commitments. One that is broader and richer than just your current space.  This is why people need to take breaks. Go on holiday and spend time in a different environment. Not only to rest but to reimagine their future. If you are not doing this you run the risk of ending up in someone else’s future.

My personal journey has been one of reflecting on what I would like my future to be. It was one of reconnection – both the inner and the outer.  Most importantly I didn’t see it happening at this magical ‘retirement’ age. Changing my perspective of my future has prepared me for this transition to our new life. 

 It has now been three months since we moved to Lombok and every day I’m grateful for being given this opportunity. Every day I try to learn something new, engage with new people and create a better future for myself and my loved ones.

Change your perspective and dare to change your future.

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