The Importance of Perspective

blog_magdalen_towerOn Monday I tried out for the Oxford University Fencing Team and while biking across a bridge I caught sight of Magdalen college’s dreaming spires and it hit me. I was fencing again … at a club next to the track where the 4-minute mile was broken … in a town older than the Aztec empire … while studying at the greatest university on the planet. No matter how anything else goes in my life, “I am at Oxford.”

With that reminder came two key insights:

First is that I gained the perspective that I needed to have as I go through job rejections, internal school issues, and intense study session and that I need to constantly remind myself about this perspective.
Second, I realized that with the privilege that I have been given by nature of studying at Oxford comes a great responsibility. Next week I’ll address the responsibility portion but this week I want to focus on how I plan on maintaining this perspective.

As you saw from my post two weeks ago, things at Oxford can get very busy. Almost everything here is focused around learning and expanding your mind, usually over drinks, and always amidst some of the greatest minds around. Church is no exception to this and Church is quickly becoming the avenue I use to maintain this perspective.

Christ Church CathedralThere are over 150 pubs in Oxford and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were even more churches. Each college has a church some grand, some cozy and in keeping with my goals for the year I have been to a handful of services already this term. My favorite by far is the Sung Eucharist at Christ Church. Their cathedral is beautiful, the choir angelic, the organ inspiring, and the service is motivating. What offers a continual reminder of perspective is that the preacher is a theologian, an academic and a believer in making the sermons start in real life and apply scripture to it.

For instance a few weeks ago he opened the sermon with a run-down about how a Management Consultancy pointed out the importance of a shared mission at a firm, from the librarians, cafeteria staff, janitors, and other employees all the way up to the CEO. It was a lesson in leadership development that touched upon the mission of the Church. It was another lesson (in my already filled schedule) that, because it was coming from a completely different angle re-energized me and served as a reminder to focus on the bigger picture.

So far, this same experience has repeated itself at services across the university and it is one way that I am going to maintain my perspective each week. I invite any who read this blog to come to services with me or at least take advantage of what this city has to offer in order to maintain the perspective that “I’m at Oxford.” For future students reading this, consider this just another reason why Oxford is quite possibly the best global program to get your MBA. Stay tuned for next week when I talk about the responsibility that this perspective demands and how I hope to meet it.