Your Perception is YOUR Reality
Your perception is key to overcoming obstacles. We talk about perception in the first week of Elevate 09 and we talk about how your perception is YOUR reality. We say ‘your’ because our perception and reality is ours alone – others may have a different interpretation and therefore different reality as we discuss here. Your paradigms and reality are shaped by your perception, which we know is critical in confronting obstacles and problems, and ultimately, overcoming them.
We all face obstacles whether in life or in our work. Often, they can seem so significant and daunting, we don’t know how we could overcome them, and quite often, we may not. We may decide to retreat or find another way or take some other escape route. We would be lying by saying we all as humans tend to seek comfort and easier paths rather than confronting the fact that our perception is reality and doing the hard work to take on obstacles head on.
Is your perception ductile? Meaning, do you feel you can control your perception and alter it based on inputs and information that you have. There is entire field of psychology dedicated to perception whether you knew it or not. In essence, perception is the process we use to understand different stimuli that is presented to us. There are three primary steps to perception and our brain processes perception rapidly:
1. Selection of stimuli and whether to engage with it
2. Organization of information or stimuli presented
3. Interpretation of the information
If you have been exposed to perception or psychology before, you may recall some exercises where you had to look at a picture, usually black and white shapes, and are asked to explain what you see. The images are purposely constructed so different people will see different shapes based on their perception. Rubin’s Vase is a famous one that is shown in the picture. Do you see a vase or something else?
When stimuli is presented to us, we select whether to deal with it or not. Since we are exposed to literally thousands of stimuli each day, we tend to be selective on what we choose to engage with. If we do, our brains organize it, usually through our senses and a mental model is developed. The interpretation is where we can tend to deviate from each other and “see things” differently. The vase image is one example. Many will see a vase, but others will see two faces. We interposed things based on information that is available to us.
That is the last of the technical psychology explanation in this post. The interpretation piece is the most critical in our opinion when it comes to confronting obstacles. Just like the images, our interpretation, and therefore perception, of obstacles can vary person to person. Understanding we have the ability to alter our perceptions based on information available to us as well as past experiences or even motivations and emotions is important. Here, the term your perception is your reality is 100% correct.
Being able to alter your interpretation of the problem or obstacle is key to changing your perception and this will shape your approach to it. You have more ability to control your perception than you likely think. Just knowing this and believing it can make a world of difference, as you can work to shape your interpretations. Rather than locking into a negative outlook or a lack of confidence in the light of an obstacle, drawing on past experiences or positive thinking can help reframe your interpretation. Looking at the positive side of overcoming a challenge and the desire to do so can help frame the interpretation more clearly.
Having a ductile perception, one that can be shaped to the obstacles presented, can help you adapt and face them more effectively. Focus on altering your interpretation accordingly. Learn to see the advantages obstacles can present rather than just the challenges or problems alone. See the bigger picture, the path beyond the obstacle and this can help reduce the perceived magnitude of the obstacle. Embrace positivity and see things in a positive, optimistic light rather than a dark and pessimistic view. Your perspective can drive your mindset and your mindset is critical when faced with challenges and tough situations.
So, to change your perception and your reality of obstacles and problems, focus on your interpretation. Perspective is one piece of the puzzle for overcoming and leveraging obstacles, but it is a critical one that sets the foundation. Your perception is your reality, but you have more ability than you think to control your interpretation and then also your perception of problems and obstacles.