I was reminded of a mathematical anomaly the other day which perfectly describes the importance of perspective. It goes something like this:

Three people go into a shop and buy something for £30, each giving £10 towards it. After they leave, the manager tells the assistant it was on offer for £25 and gives the assistant £5 to give them back. On the way up the road, the assistant realises £5 can’t be split easily into 3 so keeps £2 and gives each of the customers £1 back each, so they only paid £9 each.

Three £9s are £27, added to the £2 the assistant kept, equals £29. So, what happened to the extra £1? The answer, apparently, is in how one looks at the mathematics and I think it’s a perfect analogy for life: any situation can be both right and wrong, depending on whose perspective we’re looking at it from.

Given anyone’s model of the world, I believe few people are intrinsically evil. We simply can’t see their perspective clearly enough, so don’t understand their motivation for doing what they do. Fear, upbringing, beliefs and desires can play a massive role in one’s perspective.

It’s the wise of us who take the time to discover an adversary’s perspective. Who knows, if we we’d also just take the time to see things from their point of view, we might just profit from that metaphorical missing pound?

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