I am so exhausted but I can’t sleep – my mind just won’t shut off. I just have this idea of peripheral vision niggling at me. As many of you know I am a designer – I love discovering more about how we interact with the world and make meaning of it. I was reading a few days ago about how peripheral vision is significantly more critical to decoding our environment than our central focus. 

It hit me tonight just how applicable this is to our attitude towards situations too. To illustrate and articulate my thoughts I want to share an analogy in the form of a short narrative. 

Once there was a farmer who was known to consistently harvest the most nutritious and delicious produce in the land. He was a gifted and wise farmer, but he also had a secret. His secret was to water his plants with water he collected from a stream near his farm. To reach the stream the farmer had to walk through a paddock with a door in the middle of it. Each day the farmer would make the journey to the stream, opening the door and passing through it. Over many years the farmer’s consistent route resulted in a path forming in the paddock – each journey making the path more refined and easier to walk along.

One day when the farmer arrived at the door he discovered that it was locked. He twisted the knob, gave the door a bit of a nudge, but still it wouldn’t open. Becoming impatient, and knowing how important the stream’s water was to his livelihood, he took a few steps back, focused his eyes solely on the door, and ran as fast as he could at it. With an almighty crash the farmer hit the door and fell down. The door remained firmly locked. For months the farmer returned to the door desperately hoping that he would find it unlocked once again. But each day he found the door to be locked. He would repeat his attempts at prying the door open and when he became exhausted he would depressingly trudged back to his farm. Without the water from the stream his business collapsed and eventually he gave up on his hopes and dreams of being a farmer.

The sad truth of this story is that the door was in the middle of a paddock. There is no reason why the farmer could not have stepped to either side, walked around the door, and continued on his journey. How often do we get caught focussing on the locked door and not the opportunities that surround it! The farmer gave up on his hopes and dreams because of one locked door that was so insignificant.

My challenge for myself during this recovery process is to not get focussed on the locked door. There is tremendous opportunities surrounding this difficult time. Yes, I would like the convenience of walking along the track and through the door (the familiar and the comfortable) but at the moment that’s not my reality. I need to step to the side, find a new route so that something good can come of this situation.

I urge you too, we are all facing difficulties and challenges, don’t fixate on the locked doors. Look for the opportunities that surround them!