Perception versus reality

Perception according to the Cambridge Dictionary is;

1.A belief or opinion, often held by many and based on how things seem

2.The quality of for being aware of things through the physical senses; especially sight

3.Someone’s ability to notice and understand things that are not obvious to other people

The majority of us live according to our perception, we react and make decisions through the way in which we see things. We look at how a situation or action affects us personally.  Our perception at times will most certainly be wrong and we will still act on this.  Be honest and think back to the number of times you have made wrong judgements based on what you chose to see and your prejudices.

See the example below;

David joined your organisation last week as a project officer.  Though generally pleasant to his peers, David is rather aloof and separates himself from them. A few officers have aired they feel David isolates himself and contributes very little in team meetings. As David’s supervisor you are planning to raise this issue with him, however your view is he suffers with anxiety and struggles to work closely with people.  Same situation – two very different perspectives.

It is all to easy to make an assumption on why someone acts the way they do. Once we have created an impression of who they are in our eyes, we go on to treat them accordingly. Often we do not have the full picture and no real desire to actually understand the “why”. We simply run with our idea as it makes perfect sense to us.

Newspapers and magazines exist to inform us while heavily influencing the way we look at politics, the economy, the government, the rich, the poor, fashion, beauty, ourselves and so on.  Most people base their views on the information they have been fed (which nine times out of ten times is misleading) rather than first hand. I ceased buying fashion magazines years ago as I felt it began to change the way
in which I viewed myself and others.

There is an old saying “our eyes cannot lie” but we can choose to see that which justifies and supports our beliefs. We can jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts because it is easier to do so than exploring that little bit more and thinking outside of the box.

How much do outside influences skew your views?

Do you work to keep an open mind – what practical steps do you take?