Continuing the journey through The Phantom Tollbooth begun in the previous post…When Milo comments on the beautiful view, a strange voice responds:
“It’s all in the way you look at things…for instance…if you happened to like deserts, you might not think this was beautiful at all.”
How true this is – we all have different beliefs and values which will determine what is good, bad, right and wrong for us. Some people enjoy speaking in public, others shy away; some people think 4 hours asleep is a good night, others would label this insomnia; some people are frightened of spiders, others keep them as pets. The only difference is a difference in perspective.
The source of the strange voice is a young boy who is floating several feet above the ground. He tells Milo that in his family everyone is born with their heads at the height they will be once they grow up. Instead of growing up towards the sky, their legs grow down towards the ground. When Milo explains that where he comes from people grow in the opposite direction, the boy (Alec Bings) responds,
“What a silly system…then your head keeps changing its height and you will always see things in a different way. Why, when you are 15 things won’t look at all the way they did when you were 10, and at 20 everything will change again.”
As we develop our perspective changes (unlike Alec’s), how we viewed the world as a child is very different to how we view it as an adult, but sometimes it is useful (and a lot of fun) to go back to seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Sometimes though we carry childhood beliefs and strategies with us into adulthood which manifest in unhelpful behaviours. We often coach clients to “grow up” these beliefs in order to update or change the unwanted behaviour.
The other “skill” which Alec has, which is also a difficulty, is that he can see round things and through things – but unfortunately the only thing he can’t see is what is right in front of his nose, which of course causes him to bump into things a lot. This is another challenge that frequently arises in coaching sessions, clients who know what they want but there is something (an obstacle) in the way that they find themselves (metaphorically) banging their heads against, bumping into, or even tripping over. These clients often need assistance to examine the obstacle and develop a strategy for getting round it, overcoming it, breaking through it, or even finding an alternative path (the right path) or a different direction.