Have you ever heard the term forced perspective? Well if not, most likely you’ve seen or used it at some point in life. So let’s define it. Forced perspective is the use of various techniques, either in photography or architecture to create the illusion that objects or people are smaller, larger, closer, or farther away than they really are. Walt Disney and his Imagineering team are hands down the best at this art. The picture seen here is a great example of their craft. Let me explain.
All the first story shops on Main Street USA are “to scale”. That means they are just like any other store you would enter. However, as you add levels to the building, each floor gets progressively smaller. Then you add The Castle at the end of Main Street, based on the science behind forced perspective, and it looks bigger than life. In fact Cinderella Castle is only 189 feet tall, just under the height requirement for warning lights to be placed on the highest spire. So, looks can be deceiving. But for this example, they’re deceiving in a good way. Conversely, as you leave the park looking toward the Train Station, especially after a long day of walking, it’s just a stroll in the park (please pardon the pun).
The next example is a picture taken of me running during Marathon Weekend. You can almost imagine me holding Spaceship Earth in my hands. However, I’m only 5 feet, 9 inches tall, while this famous geodesic sphere is actually 165 feet in diameter, 180 feet high and a whopping 518 feet in circumference. Yet, the science of forced perspective allows us to believe something entirely different. Okay, math and science class is now over.
Why bring all this up? Because it’s time to pivot. When life presents us with those forced perspective moments, we too may see an illusion that doesn’t present the whole truth. So take a stroll with me down our collective Main Street as we make the pivot and separate fact from fantasy.
Fact…today we have a global pandemic called COVID 19, and it’s affecting almost every area of life. We can’t work, travel, shop, eat, or socialize as we did just three months ago. And this does not appear to be ending anytime soon. Our new reality (no matter how temporary it may be), is causing us to think, to reconsider how we live and invest our time. We’ve come to see just how precious many things are and how quickly they can be taken away.
Now, pivot for me again. Look up! Take a hard look at the second level. No matter what your eyes tell you, it’s different from the ground floor. It’s an illusion. It’s not real. We’ll call this our perception…our negative perception. This is where we place all those fears, anxieties, doubts and discouragement. Here we have a choice. We can believe, based on our current circumstances that the world as we’ve known it is coming to an end? Or we can make the pivot, choosing only to glace at this situation, while we let our gaze fall toward the future.
Now, pivot with me one last time. Let your gaze focus on The Castle. It’s real! And reminds us of hope and promise…of all those times before when faced with adversity you stood tall, look a deep breath and slayed the dragon. That no matter how dark the night, eventually the sun did rise.
So let’s go back to the definition. Today life looks different. In so many ways it may seem smaller, larger, closer, or farther away than it really is. Dreams seem smaller and farther away, while problems and fears look closer and larger than life. And just so you know I’m not a complete ”Pollyanna”! I do understand not every dream will come true, that adjustments and concessions may come or those “and if not” moments as well. Guess what? That’s always been true in life, not just today!
But if all we do is gaze at current set of circumstances, the pile of rubble we believe is around us today, we will never see tomorrow. Glace at it…absolutely! Here we can learn, prepare and make plans for the future. But then make the pivot, let your gaze be forward. Tomorrow is where our hope, future and promise lie. And the only way to get there is by making the pivot.
The writer of Proverbs 4 said it well beginning in verse 25, “Let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you. Make level the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. That’s a great word, no matter where you are in life!
My challenge to you is simple. Ask yourself this question, “Where is my gaze verses my glance?” Are you stuck in the rubble or looking at tomorrow? Make the pivot!