I’m not really sure who first said “Perception is reality” but this statement has intrigued me and got me growing so I thought I’d share some insights that just may spark your curiosity as well.
I, for one, have often heard and even repeated “perception is reality” without really stopping to think and comprehend the meaning. So, when I get really curious (as I now am), I dig a bit deeper and turn to Merriam-Webster and look up the definition.
per·cep·tion – noun
: the way you think about or understand someone or something
: the ability to understand or notice something easily
: the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses
re·al·i·ty – noun
: the true situation that exists : the real situation
: something that actually exists or happens : a real event, occurrence, situation, etc.
Well there you have it. Now this seems pretty straight forward….or is it?
When I was in junior high school I got into a spot of trouble (shocking, I know) and was in conference (more like a lecture) with the assistant principal. While I don’t remember many details, I do have vivid recollection of him repeating “when you are in the real world….”. I have no idea what followed that opening phrase but I do know he said it several times and my mind was whirling, thinking well if I’m not in the real world right now, then where am I?
Now that I’m a grown up (age-wise but certainly still growing), I understand that he was simply trying to impress upon me more appropriate actions and behaviors and the need to develop skills that would better serve me in life, work and society…..or something really profound like that. Anyway, the point is that my reality in that moment was very real and did not feel very good while he seemed to be off somewhere way in the future. Today I can say that this was a true learning moment both then and now as I (re)think about that event and approach it from a different point of view. I see it and feel it differently than when I was a child.
So, how does this help me and hopefully you today?
If we can accept that how we perceive someone, something or anything for that matter creates our reality, then what awesome power and responsibility we have to actually create the reality we want – one that best serves ourselves and those around us.
Here are 5+1 insights as to how shifting our perception can lead to innovation, efficiencies, and greater satisfaction in all areas of life.
#1: Entertain other possibilities. So often we … “get stuck in a rut” , “have a one track mind”, think “our way is the only way”, or “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, and as a result we may miss out on opportunities to learn another way and to even take advantage of more recent innovations and ideas. There was nothing wrong with the horse & buggy but Henry Ford entertained the possibility of getting from point A to B in a faster and different manner…and just look at the transportation industry today.
#2: Invite participation from others. So often we see asking for help as a sign of weakness; Inviting opinions as being indecisive. Putting ourselves out there for another’s scrutiny is risky. But without such courage how else can we expand our awareness to even begin to see and consider other possibilities. Ask for others’ opinions; ask for input and ideas. Be interested and excited to hear what they have to offer.
#3: Delegate. Now that we’ve ventured outside of our own brilliance, it’s time to trust in the brilliance of others… we just might learn something. I’ve said many times and have heard it said many times as well “if you want something done right then do it yourself”. This is limited and one-track thinking, only allowing things to be done your way and creating impossible to-do lists for yourself. But realize that in delegating, it may be done differently yet produce the same result and along the way free up time for you to do what only you can do and allow others to learn and grow.
#4: Examine our motivations and be open to change. Here’s where we invoke our questioning, skeptical attitude. Why do we hold on so tightly to our preconceived notions, our way of doing things, the stories we play over and over in our minds? What answers come up for you? Here in lies great opportunities to challenge ourselves and ask the new question, “How else could I see it, think about it, experience it?” Have fun!
#5: Relax. Stop trying so hard. Take a few deep breaths. Center. And then you just may see things “the situation, someone, something” in a whole new light…prayer and meditation have an amazing way of shifting our perspective, which allows a more supportive perception.
+1: Challenge your status quo. This is about shifting our perspective and creating the reality we want. Let’s be honest. If everything stays the same, i.e., status quo, then there is no growth, no change in perception, and no new reality…we die.
I hope you found this thought provoking… and even a bit of a personal challenge. I encourage you to re-read this again after a while and see if you get something new.
If you want to change your reality, first acknowledge other possibilities then look/explore/entertain other ways to perceive someone or something….may you choose the reality that best serves you, those around you and ultimately the world.
What reality will you choose?
Please share in the comment section any shifts in your perception or aha moments as I would love to hear about them and support your growth journey.
Abound in grace, Karen