What are you doing right now? What are you thinking about at this moment? How do you perceive the challenges you're facing today? If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could change something for the better, would you go ahead and do it? The outcome of something is greatly influenced by the perception a person has towards it. Even though I may be beginning to sound like a Pollyanna
at this moment, there is definitely some truth in the foolishness that some people take to be part of being a severe optimist. Perception is controllable and alterable.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word "perception" comes from the Latin words perceptio
, and means "receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses."
In philosophy, and psychology, perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. Perception is perhaps one of the oldest fields in psychology. The oldest quantitative law in psychology is the Weber-Fechner law
, which quantifies the relationship between the intensity of physical stimuli and their perceptual effects. The study of perception gave rise to the Gestalt school of psychology, with its emphasis on holistic approach.
What one perceives is a result of a person’s interactions between past experiences, including one’s culture, and the interpretation of the perceived.
I’ve seen a large number of people miss out on some amazing (and I truly mean AMAZING) opportunities because of their perception toward something or someone. I see this all the time at social events. Whenever a person doesn’t want to approach someone else, or return a hello towards another person when that person says hello to them, they are inadvertently losing out on an opportunity. The opportunity to know the other person better, the opportunity to learn that the other person is related to someone who happens to be very close friends with a person they’ve been attempting to connect with for the past two or three years it turns out. The opportunity to find out that the person is an executive or a person of influence in an industry you're attempting to make your name known. The opportunity to make a good impression with someone who can positively (or negatively) effect your reputation due to the way a person interacts or does not interact with them. An opportunity missed due to a person’s perception. This may not always be the case, but it happens much more often than you might think.
Another destiny altering perception that is all too common is to think of a challenging situation one may be dealing with as a completely negative thing all the time. Sometimes a challenge one faces is really an opportunity to shine, or to move on away from somewhere one doesn’t want to be, or to grow as a person. There are many possibilities that can exist within challenging scenarios, but I’m not going to go into all of those hereJ.Have You Ever Been Guilty of…
Not giving a task the attention it deserved because you thought it was more important to get it done rather than doing it right?
Not keeping an appointment with a person because, even though you said you “may” or “may not” be able to keep it (and you really could’ve made the appointment), you decided that making the appointment was not as important as watching your favorite sports team on TV take on their arch-rival?
Not treating someone at an event as important as someone else you were in conversation with because you didn’t believe that person was worth your time?
Basically throwing your hands up in the air and accepting a bad situation, even though you suspect you may be able to do something about it so that the outcome may not be as bad?
I’ve been guilty of all of the above scenarios in the past more often than I care to admit.The Past Cannot Be Changed
One person I use to mentor a long time ago always dwelled for long periods of time on negative events that have past. He dwelled so much in fact that he was hampering his ability to move up in his career and build on some important relationships. When an opportunity to lead a new venture or project came along, he would keep “bringing up” the failures of the past that he was involved with. He didn’t know it or understand that he was making himself appear like a “dweller” instead of a pro-active “doer”. His perception was that he needed to remember the past and learn from it. But at the same time, his perception of how much he should focus on the past, in comparison to how much focus he should have on the present and the future, was affecting his success. A success that, according to him, was out of his reach most of the time. This was his perception of what was and needed to be.
Another person I mentored was much happier in her career (she told me) because she learned early on that you can’t change the past and so why dwell on something you can’t change. She chose to focus on what she could change. Remembering the past but not dwelling on it. Because of this, she didn’t waste personal energy on the past and was able to put more thought into making things she had control over work. Her perception was a proactive and resilient one. Resilient because even when she is surprised by something that is, how shall we say, less than what she was expected or wanted, she quickly moves forward in attempting to remedy the situation. Or at the very least, move onto the next initiative. This was her perception of what was and needed to be.The Ability to Alter the Future is Within Your Power
A negative perception is often based upon a problem or a set of circumstances in one’s life in which a person feels stuck, without options and paralyzed. Unless one is a psychological masochist, this is an awful feeling that a person would rather not feel. Creating, and maintaining a positive perception begins with the personal choice to have one.We can’t always choose what happens to us in life, but we can definitely choose how we react to what happens.What are your thoughts?
Here are some good articles on the above:
4 Self-Perceptions Can Improve Your Career! by Deb Wheatman
Are You Guilty of Judging Others?
Does Your Perceptions Meet Your Expectations?
How to Crack the Self-Awareness Paradigm by John Baldoni
Lower Your Workplace Stress by Changing Your Perceptions by Harriet Meyerson
The Role of Perception and Attitude in Stress Management by John Townsend
Your Perception IS Your Reality by Tony D. Clark
Zig Ziglar - Attitude Makes All The Difference (video)