A bird’s eye view

A few days ago, while in my kitchen I was distracted by a very loud, high-pitched chirp that emanated from a tiny, violet bird. The bird was perched on our window’s bars, staring into our house. The bird was not distracted or disturbed by my presence, but when I followed its line of vision, I could not see what it was that was exciting the bird so much. I was convinced that there was something out of the ordinary, as I have never seen such a reaction from such a beautiful small bird before. However, despite my intense search before it flew away, I never discovered what had attracted the bird’s attention.

To be honest, I sometimes have a similar situation when I’m with my wife. She is sometimes taken aback by the way that I’ll walk right past something that she notices and can’t believe that I didn’t see it.

But I think that is how we all are, and that’s what makes us unique – we all react and respond to different stimuli, primarily to things that we view as really important. Some people have a rich internal world, with thought processes, theorizing and plans. Others are more focussed on their external surroundings acting on and being acted upon by the physical world, with much less insight into what is going on internally.

Pay attention

The same is true of our perspective of our financial situation, the stimuli that cause us to spend or save, invest for the future or run up large debts or simply ignore our finances. Some are driven by appropriate planning that helps them to make important decisions, while others use external stimuli (eg. negative bank balances, or empty fridges) to motivate themselves to make changes.  But I believe everyone can hone their focus. To pay attention to what is happening in their lives, their daily reactions to their situation and to focus on what is important to them.

In a recent conversation with an insurance agent, he asked me how my wife and I manage to raise 7 children. I didn’t understand what his focus was, until he clarified – how did we manage financially? I explained to him that it was a matter of priorities. Once you’ve prioritized what’s important in life, you make decisions that fit in line with those life-altering choices.  Saying no to small unimportant things like fitting all into one car, is saying yes to a much bigger ideal. That becomes our priority and that’s how we make it work.


As we approach Pesach with all its inherent expenses, this is now the perfect time to take a bird’s eye view and see what is truly important to us. When we think before we make large purchases, and maybe decide not to buy that extra ‘whatever’ we don’t have to see that as a deprivation. It’s all a question of reframing – it really means that we are prioritizing so that we can be spending our time and money on the things and people who are most important to us.  A ‘no decision’ is really just a ‘yes decision’ but for something else that is more important to you.

We need to empower ourselves to go through life making conscious decisions in a measured, considered way, rather than just following whims and fancies, social norms and pressures from the people around us. Being able to make our own choices represents the highest level of freedom. And as we approach the festival of Pesach when we celebrate our redemption and freedom from slavery in Egypt, this is the natural time to implement this mindset. Focus on what we want to spend our money on, who we want to spend our time with, and how to make each day count in the most meaningful manner.  Isn’t that really why we are here in Israel, fighting for our freedom to live in our country in the way we desire.

Sight is the birds’ most important sense. However, they have monocular vision, which means they can see better to the side than straight ahead. As a way of compensating, they can see ultraviolet frequencies, and have an increased panoramic view, hence the expression ‘bird’s eye view’. We too have weaknesses but need to recognize our potential strengths to maximize our potential. Then we will hopefully have the perspective and wisdom to see the bigger picture and the ability to focus on the details that are most meaningful and important to us.

May this month of Nissan and the holiday of Pesach bring freedom to all, with the safe return of our hostages, the safety of our soldiers in all their missions, and the security of our nation.