It rained the other day; hard. Sheets of water falling from the sky, splashing off the sides of buildings and the windshield of my truck. Rivers of water running through the street like rapids in an Olympian event.
I’m somewhat of an anomaly. I like the rainy days, especially if there is a thunderstorm attached. There is something about a good thunderstorm that stimulates the senses; being able to feel the thunder, see the lightening, hear the rain, and smell the clean air.
Don’t misunderstand, I like the sunny warm days too, but I find nothing depressing about a good summer thunderstorm.
The spirit in the storm is invigorating.
As usual, I had my camera with me while out experiencing the storm. I stopped driving for a few minutes to enjoy the symphony of the rain with the companion light show… and also because I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me while I was moving.
Out the window, the storm was in full force: The pouring rain, the rumbling thunder, the hurried wind.
The gusts were grabbing rain drops and splashing them across the pavement like a handful of pennies scattering across a floor. The trees were twisting and flailing to the beat of the storm with the strobes of lightening flashing to create motionless moments in chaotic rhythm.
I wanted a picture that captured the vision I was seeing. I pointed the camera, framed the composition, and snapped the perfect shot.
Except the camera, in all its infinite wisdom and technology, focused on the raindrops running across the window I was shooting through.
My Nikon had no interest in where I wanted to focus.
It didn’t ask, but just assumed what I wanted it to do. And I was in such a hurry to get the perfect shot I didn’t bother to stop and tell it exactly where to focus on either.
We misunderstood each other and the picture suffered.
As with many of my photos, I see the picture as a story on life, more than just the subject of the landscape.
I realize the camera and I both have the same view. My eyes and the camera software review the same sight picture, but we can still end up focusing on two different things.
The picture I wanted and the picture the camera captured are not always the same. I need to communicate specifics to the camera to ensure that we grab the same subject.
How interesting it is when metaphors for life just jump out and grab us sometimes.
Many times I stand next to someone else, look at the same path ahead, but focus on a completely different journey.
Our sight is the same, but our vision is not.
Professionals in law enforcement see examples of this every day. Multiple witnesses to a crime all end up with different descriptions of what happened after seeing the same drama unfold before their eyes.
I think we can take this idea and apply it to less dramatic events; perhaps everyday life and relationships.
Whether we work next to someone or live with them in a personal relationship, how many times do we struggle with misunderstandings and miscommunications? How many of these issues might be only due to our perspective on the matter?
We both see the same thing transpire and interpret the scene differently from one another.
Clarity is more than just clear vision. I believe it requires a sharper focus combined with intent.
In the workplace, a defined goal and the attention to detail that show the course, the plan, and the intended outcome.
In personal relationships, clarification of intention or perspective before assuming someone is wrong or at fault.
We need to make sure we focus correctly before taking the next action or the results may be surprising…and not always in a good way.