If your birthday is on the 29th of February, what will you do? Will you mope around at the fact that your birthday comes once every four years like the Olympics, or will you covet both the 28th of February and the 1st of March and claim to have at least two birthdays in a year? Will you treat the interval between each 29th of February as an opportunity to plan for the next 29th of February birthday bash, or will you be the person who says something cheeky when asked about their age? Will you be glad that you don’t have to worry every year about whether or not you want to have a birthday party, or will you be afraid that you won’t receive birthday presents every year? The different possible reactions are numerous. We are responding to the same stimulus- the 29th of February birthday- but we will react in very different ways.
One of the things I have been learning over the past year is that human beings are so diverse and complex. There are over seven billion people in the world and each of us has unique experiences that determine how we turn out. Actually, I think we can all have the same experience, but our reactions will be different. It is a chicken and egg situation. Is it our experiences that determine how we react or are we innately wired to react in a certain way, thereby coloring our experiences with our perspective? I leave you to grapple with that..
Back to my learning curve. Phew, has it been one steep curve. I have met different people whose perspectives do not agree with mine at all. My first reaction used to be shut out what I don’t agree with, but I am now learning to be more open minded. I have learnt to be inquisitive instead of defensive. If your perspective is different from mine, I am no longer afraid of you or your perspective, or afraid that your perspective might influence mine in a way that I am too scared to contemplate. Now instead of shutting you out, I want to know why you view things from a certain perspective and if it is possible for you to explain, I will listen. I have learnt to open my eyes and my ears and give another perspective a chance. The worst that can happen is that I may never see things from your perspective, but I will try to respect it.
A leap year comes once in four years. When the next leap year comes, will you be able to look back and say you took a leap in? Will you be more open minded to perspectives different from yours?