Shalom's Cottage Home Blog

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Rock Island, IL, United States
Hi, I'm Shalom. Artist, crafter, gardener, flea market enthusiast, bargain hunter, and lover of flavor. Welcome to my journey!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lessons From Bookmarks: Perspective is Everything

I recently designed a line of bookmarks with little inspirational messages that I made up and I thought it would be interesting to explore the meaning behind each of them. If you are like me, you get a little thrill up your spine when you see a piece of art or good graphic design paired with the perfect written message. I love to collect samples like that and leave them all over my house to remind me of what's truly important in life. That is what I was aiming to do with these bookmarks - to share universal wisdom through art. I may have penned the words, themselves, but the truths behind them are timeless:

Perspective is Everything. The concept is just like reading the sentence. At first glance, it doesn't look like much, but if you chew over it for a little bit and look a little further in, you will start to understand the full meaning behind those 3 powerful words.

I'll give an example to make it easier to understand: a friend of mine recently called me to share the bad news she and her husband owed a lot of taxes this year and it was going to take some serious planning and reorganizing of priorities in order to get themselves in a position to pay it back. They had also experienced some medical hardships in the past couple of years and so had been more distracted than usual and had not payed close enough attention to their finances to avoid this situation in the first place. My friend called me, knowing that I would listen and be sympathetic, but that I might also have a different perspective on the matter. She was so overwhelmed by the enormity of the circumstances, just recently discovered, that she couldn't see past the problem.

When she asked me what I thought they should do, I first told her that I was very sorry for their situation and I realized that it was going to be a challenge to get through it, yet not impossible. I then grabbed my calculator and punched in a few numbers. Then I asked her, "Well, you've been thinking about getting a part time job, right?" (she has been a stay-home mom all her life, but currently only has 2 teenage boys left at home). She said, yes. Then I told her that based on my calculations, if she got a part time job, working only 10 hours a week, and put all her earnings toward paying off the tax debt, it would be gone in about 2 years. There were a few moments of stunned silence on her end of the phone, followed by a timid but hopeful "Really?"

We also discussed that it would probably be best for them to consult some professional advice for this matter as well. But it felt SO wonderful to be able to take some of the heaviness off her burden, just by having a different perspective. One of the last things I said to my friend, before we hung up was "Really, when you look at it, getting rid of this debt is only a matter of a few extra hours a week spent outside of the home and some numbers being pushed around on paper." And that is the truth. It doesn't have to become any bigger of an issue in her life than that; and she once she has a plan in place to deal with the problem, she will be free to enjoy her life and look forward to many other good things.

I don't claim to be a financial expert, or even a deep well of worldly wisdom, but I do know that sometimes all you really need is to see things from someone else's perspective. So don't be afraid to ask.

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