Stand on your desk

St. George's Cathedral
St. George’s cathedral in Kingston in full autumn glory

I was watching a biography on the great Robin Williams. They showed that memorable scene from Dead Poets Society where he stands on his desk and asks his students why, and he replies, “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”

It’s easy to not see what is before our eyes. Case in point. I was driving home the other night and for the first time, saw a bright red roof of a barn shimmering in the late day sun. I had never seen that roof before even though I drive the same route twice a day, five days a week, fifty weeks of the year.

Sometimes we need to make a conscious effort to see things from a new perspective. The risk if we don’t stand on our desks from time to time is feeling uninspired, unfulfilled, bored and unhappy.

This week’s #HappyAct is to stand on your desk and challenge yourself to look at things with a fresh eye. If you’re not into standing on your desk, try this. Every day this week, on your daily walk or commute, pause and look at your surroundings with fresh eye. What did you discover? Leave a comment. Here’s what I found one day on a quick walk around the block from my office.

Limestone carriageway
A limestone carriageway, from the days of horse and carriages.
One of the many beautiful doorways of Kingston
Frontenac Club Inn
The Frontenac Club Inn on King and William Streets. Note the plaque on the wall–this is the first time I’ve ever stopped to read it, even though I’ve passed it a million times. It is dedicated to the men of the Frontenac Club who fought in the second world war. I learned the Frontenac Club was made up of leading Kingstonians, garrison officers, faculty and officers of Queen’s University and Royal Military College and was closed in the 1930s when the depression hit.

3 thoughts on “Stand on your desk

  1. I know that carriage way!
    I do the same thing every once in awhile, take my time on my noon hour walk, peer down laneways into backyards, see something new that I haven’t noticed before.
    This is one lesson we can learn from our kids. They are so good at doing this – I’m going to totally spam your blog again – but, I just wrote a blog post along these lines . It’s one of those moments that make you love the way kids view the world. They play in the rain while I run for the door. They throw off their shoes and get wet, laughing and having a great time, while I hide out in the dry house. I’m thinking I need to change the way I look at rain 🙂

    1. Cool post, Matt, and have to say I’ve viewed that first-hand with my kids. I’d take it a step further though–I think anyone would be happier outside doing just about anything than inside cooped up in a vehicle all day.

  2. Pingback: Top 11 Happy Acts of 2014 | Happy Act

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