Have you ever been in a situation where you are faced with doing something you wouldn’t be the first to volunteer for, but everyone is expecting you to do it? You probably have. But how would you handle it? Well, why don’t you try changing lenses?
Let’s break the process down. Take three lenses: near-sighted, foggy, and farsighted.
If you are wearing near-sighted lenses, you are all into the now and bend over backwards to get rid of anything that threatens it. All that is going on in your head is that your popularity might be at stake and you would miss out on a couple pats on the back. It wouldn’t take long for you to give out under pressure, but the consequences for your action outweigh the momentary satisfaction of pleasing other people.
If you have foggy lenses on, you cannot see the immediate results or long-term results of whatever peer-pressuring situation you are in, so you just go with the flow, follow your friends, and see what happens, whether the end turns out to be good or bad.
If you wear far-sighted lenses, well, you weigh the options. You think about your popularity, reputation among your fellow classmates, and people’s attitude towards you. But then you think about the consequences of a rash decision made to just please people: if you say no to what people are calling you to do, nothing bad will happen to you in the long-run, and it will actually do you good. Is it worth it to contradict your standards just for the sake of making other people “happy”?
So, you see, it is all about putting situations in perspective. When you know what your standards are and what you can or cannot do, and you act upon them, you make wise decisions. This will bring you more respect from the very people you are feeling pressured to please. When people see that you have standards and stay committed to them, regardless of whatever situation may challenge you, they will respect you for that, even more than they did before.
In all of this, you are also gaining two other assets: bifocals and x-ray vision. You can potentially get bifocals, because as you learn to think about situations’ immediate results and long-term results and make wise choices based on them, you can begin to make decisions as to whether a situation’s immediate results are more important than its long-term results, and vice versa. You can also get x-ray vision, because if your friends (not just other people in general) are pressuring you to do something that you know that you, standing by your principles, would not do, you can see into them and tell whether they are really your friends or not, based on their responses to your decision. Will they respect your decision against what they want, or will they give you the cold shoulder for not doing what they want you to do and maybe even repeatedly try to get you to contradict your standards?
Having the right perspective and wearing the right lenses are very important for situations that call you to make wise decisions, not just in peer pressure situations. Try putting on the farsighted lenses sometimes—it could help you get out of tight situations and come out on top, having made the wise decision and saving yourself from suffering future consequences that can range from only affecting you to affecting others around you. Sometimes you need put on the near-sighted lenses: trying to get ahead of yourself in some situations may cause you to overlook important immediate decisions that you have to make and make an irrational decision. And for more complex situations, pick up those bifocals: sometimes you can’t easily tell which situational results outweigh each other in importance and just need to analyze the situations side by side before determining which results matter the most and what decision you should make. Changing lenses based on what types of situations are presented to you are better than just plowing through every situation that comes your way without ever changing the lenses that you are wearing; better to interchange between the farsighted lenses and the bifocals than to never take off your nearsighted lenses, pick up your far-sighted lenses too late, or stay in your foggy world. Choosing the right lenses can also help you see if you have the right group of people to call your friends.
We are meant to be leaders, and leaders have more pressure on them sometimes than everybody else. So as leaders, we have to know what it takes to be one, and one of the things being a leader calls for is wearing the right lenses to know where to go and how to lead.