Walking Backwards To Move Forward

This morning, as I was walking the dog on this beautiful day, we were taking our normal route. Since we live in Long Island City (just off Manhattan proper) there’s always a bunch of people out and about,  briskly heading to work, hanging out before class or, you know, walking their dogs.

Today, as I was strolling down the sidewalk, I see a man about 50 yards ahead of me, with a huge smile on his face. And I could tell he had a smile because he was walking backwards. For some reason, this man was going the same direction as I was, but he was doing it backwards.

Sometimes it's best not to follow directions, and go backwards for a day.

Sometimes it’s best not to follow directions, and go backwards for a day.

This was great fun for the kids that were hanging around the little park near where I live, as they saw this guy, laughed and started taking pictures. Can’t say I blame them, you don’t usually see someone strutting around NYC with his head in the opposite direction of where he’s going. But the entire time, he had a big grin on his face, and he just kept walking, looking back every once in a while to make sure he wasn’t going to smack into someone. It was a fun sight to behold.

Now I’m not sure why this guy decided to wake up this morning, and start walking backwards. But it says something about perspective. Maybe he needed a new perspective this morning, so he, literally, got it by walking the wrong way. Now he could see himself moving away from the LIC buildings, ignoring the jungle of skyscrapers that line the NYC skyline. Who knows what he saw as he stared in that direction. I know I would have seen something different, as I almost always walk east on that sidewalk instead of west. 

Although, I don’t know why he was doing this, there was no denying the big smile that he had on his face as he transversed the concrete. He was the only happy face, outside of the kids mocking him, that I saw this morning. That’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? The only person with a smile on his face was the man walking the wrong way? The one not concerned with going the clear route. The one not going the direction that everyone else is going. The one that says ‘you go your way, mine is better.’ And even if he doesn’t truly believe that this new perspective is the best way to get through NYC on a regular basis, today he undoubtedly learned something by not following the regular path.

And isn’t that why we always need that change of perspective from time-to-time? Isn’t that why we should seek opportunities to see that different angle in life? We get so stuck in our jobs. So set in our path to success. And so focused on what’s ahead of us, that we forget there’s another way to walk. There’s a million-and-one roads to riches. A billion roads to happiness. You just have to find the one that works for you.

So if you’re looking at your job, and can’t see a way to quit. If you’re accessing your career, and you feel you need a change. Or you’re evaluating a problem that doesn’t seem to have a solution, it’s probably just a need for a new perspective. Because even though you think there’s only one or two solutions to what you’re dealing with, there’s, no doubt, a hundred more options you never thought of or interacted with people who would provide that insight. That’s why you need to change your perspective, now more than ever. That’s why you need to walk backwards and smile.

What have you done recently to change your perspective? Let me know in the comments below.

photo by: Tom Anderson
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