In 1998, Robin Williams starred in a movie called Patch Adams. The movie was about an unconventional man trying to approach the very conventional profession of medicine in an very unconventional way. In one scene in the movie Robin Williams runs into this older gentleman in the asylum. The gentleman holds up his hand and asks him how many fingers he sees. Robin replies, “four fingers, I see four.” The gentleman walks away disgusted with Robin. Well I guess I should say Patch.
A later scene in the movie Robin walks into the gentleman’s room and asks him to explain. The gentleman asks Robin to hold up his hand and asks again, “how many fingers do you see?” Robin again says four fingers. The gentleman says, “no, no, you’re not getting it.” Look beyond the fingers, you’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem, you will never solve the problem. Look beyond, look for something beyond what the problem is.” Ultimately he gets Robin to focus beyond the fingers. Look at him, at the old man, and with movie magic you see that Robin Williams goes from seeing four fingers to seeing eight.
I’ll refer you to the scene, where you will see for yourself just how magical it is, and also see the story within it. The reality is, in our world today we spend too much time focused, deadly focused, on the problem and not looking beyond to where the solutions lay. That’s the real trick in this world. If you want to get past your anger, if you want to get past your frustration, you want to be a problem solver, you want to be a change agent, a change maker in this world. The way to go about doing that is to look beyond the problem. Look beyond your fingers.
I will finish with a question for you. What are you looking at too closely? What fingers, what problems are you so hyper-focused on that you can’t get past them, you can’t solve them because you’re not expanding your gaze far enough? That’s the solution to your problem. Look past the problem, look for the solution in a much wider angle and you will find your solution. Trust me.