The Daily Stoic newsletter for September 19, 2017 shared a common optical illusion that depending on how you looked at it could appear to be a couple of different things.
For the record, I saw the duck first, although with a little staring I was able to see the rabbit. I’m not sure whether which animal you see first says anything about how your brain works, but the the fact that you can see multiple things in the image does.
The lesson here is that how you look at this illustration, and what you “see” resembles how our perceptions work. From the Daily Stoic newsletter:
Most of our perceptions about anything—people, situations, problems, anxieties—are like this. You can see a problem; or you can see an opportunity. You can see a crippling defeat, or you can see a fresh start. You can see the end, or you can see the beginning.
Your assessment is what changes. The Stoics suggest that while you can’t control outside influences, you can control your reaction to them. You can change how you think about them.
One change I’ve made over the past couple of years, and this has a lot to do with my work at kbp.media is that I talk about needs to satisfy rather than problems to solve.
To be clear, part of the reason I chose that language is because “needs to satisfy” is the way that concept is described in the Business Analysis Core Concept Model (BACCM) from IIBA. They were trying to make satisfying needs the standard (and admittedly shorter) way of saying “problems to solve and opportunities to exploit”.
If you look at it from a stoic perspective there’s another, perhaps greater reason. You are no longer surrounded by problems. Rather you help your customers by satisfying their needs. You’re helping them move forward rather than just always getting them back even with everyone else (although there is certainly good that comes from that).
That small change in words can have a big impact on how you view your work, and the value you derive from it. Give it a try.