Eclipse and the Human Perspective

There was a great deal of interest during the week in the Total Eclipse of the Sun which occurred in North Queensland. Historically, a Solar eclipse has been seen superstitiously as a portent of disaster and many an historic battle lost was blamed on a solar eclipse happening at a crucial point. The converse is of course that it was lucky for the victor.Eclpise2012

Major solar events provide perspective on the minor issues of the workplace.

In a non-celestial sense the term eclipse is used to describe a performance that surpasses someone else or a previous standard or record. Dictionaries refer to this as making the other “dim by comparison”. It is of course sourced in the image of the moon passing between the earth and the sun. People always remember where they were or what they were doing when the eclipse occurred, perhaps because it reminds us of our miniscule status in comparison with cosmic dynamics and our hugely vulnerable mortality.

EclipseWitnessing these events can give us valuable perspective on our lives and what is important to us in the bigger scheme of things. Petty irritations in the workplace, annoying telemarketers, disappointments in romance, frustration in traffic queues and all manner of daily aggravations that raise our blood pressure and test our anger management are often put in perspective by more significant events.

This photograph was taken by the Japanese-owned Hinode telescope satellite, which orbits the Earth but is constantly pointed at the Sun. Recent publication of a range of these photos in the UK’s Daily Mail are spectacular. Read More on this.

Recently I was visiting a workplace where there was a great deal of tension and many of the staff were facing the stressful situation of mass redundancies. Management were not handling the situation very well and as a result, the worst side of human nature was emerging from some people, as is often the case in such circumstances. In the midst of this was one woman (referred to by others as “Angel”) who displayed significant equilibrium despite being under the same threats as many others. I had the chance to speak with her and asked why it was she seemed to be handling the situation so calmly.

Her response was that despite how calm she may look on the outside she was as concerned as anyone else there at the prospect of being made redundant. However what she did have was a very good sense of perspective and confidence that although she might lose her job, it was not the end of the world. Although she had no forward plan and things might be tough for her family, she was optimistic that her changed circumstances would present new opportunities not just for employment but for her to appreciate other aspects of her life more deeply.

Having settled her own mind about the things she could not control she was able to offer support, empathy and encouragement to those who were not coping as well. Hence her nickname of “Angel”.

You might say that Angel’s own form of leadership ECLIPSED that of the Managers of that organisation.

Composure under the most trying circumstances is the mark of success in all walks of life.

KiplingIf you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs…”  Rudyard Kipling penned his famous poem “If” in the context of an individual facing turmoil being able to find an inner strength and by drawing on it triumph within themselves.

Kipling is much quoted as a source of inspirational verse and prose that people even today find relevant and encouraging.

(Rudyard Kipling – an image held in the Bain Collection in the Library of Congress, USA.) 

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