Have you ever heard the saying “your perception is your reality”? The first time I heard that was during a 2-hour seminar led by Stephen Covey, being taught to a network marketing group I was investigating. Now, this was more than 15 years ago and that thought has been with me the whole time.
Over time, I’ve seen that idea from different perspectives, all of which have influenced me in different ways subtle and not so subtle.
My original perspective allowed me to understand the perception / reality equation from a very surface level. This allowed me to understand how two “eye witnesses” could describe an event in totally different ways even though they saw the same event. Their perceptions, influenced by the sum total of their thoughts and experiences up to that very instant in time, colored their understanding of reality. In other words, their perceptions of the event are their reality about that event.
My second “level” of understanding of the perception / reality equation came when I started learning how to change a person’s reality by helping them to perceive things differently. Usually this consisted of helping my kids into a more appropriate behavior or a behavior they could leverage to much better effect in their lives. Often, this application of the idea involved helping my co-workers perceive a circumstance at work in such a way that the reality kept me out of the trouble I so richly deserved.
Lately, I’ve been starting to understand this idea at a level I’m almost embarrassed to admit has escaped me all this long. One of my favorite books is Steve Siebold’s 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class and in that book, the very first mental toughness secret Steve teaches is to work from objective reality. Steve says the world class performer makes it a point to live within the framework of real truth, real reality, the way reality REALLY IS…not the way we think it is.
And as embarrassing as it is to admit, I’m learning that my reality often VERY different from THE OBJECTIVE reality. For example, I was talking to my boss about how good my student satisfaction ratings are and how my ratings are head and shoulders above every other instructor on staff. And then we took a look at hard data…the actual numbers as recorded for the last 5 years. According to the actual satisfaction statistics (objective, REAL reality) I’m a good instructor. Not head and shoulders above the rest of the staff, but a good instructor. In fact…every instructor on staff is about equal in terms of student satisfaction.
So, I am learning to see objective reality a tiny bit better every day. Maybe you have some ideas on different areas of life and how we can all see more of REAL reality. I’d appreciate your thoughts.