The opening scene of one of my favorite movies, The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) showcases one of the best techniques in storytelling and narrative building.
As the credits finish and the names of high-profile actors and production teams are cleverly spliced into the graphics, we see a shot of North America from a planetary level. The music gets faster and the percussion builds as the camera zooms in on the Northeast. Another credit appears, and the camera gets closer and closer to Manhattan, specifically the Upper East Side. As the final highest-profile actor's name flashes across the screen, the camera flies over The Met and drops onto a sedan's sunroof, the music stops - and BOOM - our charming lead appears on the screen.
Before a single word is spoken, we already know a lot about the story we're being brought into because of the perspective we began with from high above. The story starts zoomed all the way out and artfully drops us into the back seat with our main character.
We start off with a planetary point of view and end up being able to read the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso watch on Mr. Crown's wrist - and it makes sense.
The same thing happens to me when I travel to a new city. I often try to find the tallest place I can go to once I arrive in a new city. And if I can do it without being trapped by tourists, even better. But the reason popular tourist locations are frequently high up is that they give you the best understanding of the place you're visiting because you can see your destination in context and in relation to the rest of your surroundings.
Even if you don't love maps and navigation as much as I do, you can see a location through a different lens if you start off getting high and going from there.
That feels true for most new things. How high above a new situation can you get? Can you zoom out as far as possible to see the day-to-day details in a different light because of your new, albeit temporary vantage point? It takes practice and it takes intentionality, but it is a skill that I've recently observed some incredible leaders do with ease and it is something I am working on myself.
How do you get high above a situation and gain a new perspective? What tips or tricks work well for you?