THE POWER OF PERCEPTION!
Today I want to write about something that has had a profound effect on our business (albeit subconsciously) and that I have become more aware of recently. This is a topic that is really changing the way my wife and I approach our business and is something that, to be totally clichéd, has totally changed my life!
So What Is Perception And Why Is It So Important?
Put simply perception is how our brain sees the world around us. You might be saying, “well my brain sees the world how it is” unfortunately this is so far from the truth you would not believe it! There are so many studies around that show how biased our view of the world is but a great example is in a number of studies by Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus. Dr. Loftus is an expert in cognitive psychology and has been researching human memory for many years. In one study Dr. Loftus managed to successfully make healthy adults believe that they had committed a number of crimes (such as theft or assault), however, no such crime had ever taken place. Dr. Loftus was able to do this using suggestion and a number of techniques without any extreme lengths such as drugs or any other mind-altering tools.
The biggest issue with perception is that most of us believe everything we “know” and everything we “remember” as being a total truth however science has proven that, at best, our memories are a hazy recreation of what might have happened. Acceptance of this fact in itself is the first step on a life-changing journey that will improve every aspect of your life and the lives of the people around you. If you can put the ego aside and realise that your brain is an imperfect organ and that what you see and what you remember is only a very small aspect of what is actually happening around you then you will be open to so much more and you will experience so much more in life!
Recently I have had a couple of health scares, which meant that I needed to go into surgery twice within one month and when people start to throw around words like cancer and tumor you really start to think about things and you start to re-evaluate everything. Now before anyone starts sending flowers to my wife it seems like I am all clear but the thoughts and reflections remain. One of the big ones was about perception and the realisation that I was so confident in my own views that I was closing off the views of everyone else, including my loved ones. In fact not only was I closing them off but, I am ashamed to say, I was bulldozing them with my own views a lot of the time.
How Will An Open Attitude Help You Grow!
Here is an interesting question for you. If you are convinced that your own views are the absolute truth, which means you already know everything and opposing views are always wrong….how can you grow as a person? And if you are not growing as a person then what are you going to do with the rest of your life? You may as well go plant yourself in the garden and resign to your life as a potato.
The first lesson I learned when dealing with perception is to always be open to other peoples’ views and other peoples’ perceptions. Remember that your perception will almost certainly be distorted and that you don’t have to back yourself into a corner defending your point of view to the death.
If you open up you just might find some insight or piece of information that changes you as a person and improves your life exponentially. Believe me, this is something I have found extremely hard to apply to my life. If you ask anyone that knows me I am renowned as a hard-headed and sometimes pig-headed person – but from one stubborn bugger to another I can tell you applying an openness to perceptions that contradict your own will change your life for the better!
How Can You Change Your Perception
So how can you use your newfound knowledge of perception to better your relationships, create more business opportunities and in general improve your life? In order to really do this, you need to take a step back and understand that every single action in the universe can be seen from so many different perspectives. When something happens to you, you can always choose to view it from a different perspective and, in doing so, see it as an opportunity instead of a problem.
The classic illustration of the power of perception is the glass half empty/glass half full expression but you can see it every day in your life... You were planning to go to the beach today but it is raining. One perception is that your day is ruined. Another way to view this is that your garden is getting a much-needed watering so your grass can grow and what’s more you can chill out on the couch with your family and some popcorn and have a movie day! And maybe an example from my recent experience…. A health issue that required surgery that was costly and painful. There were so many negative aspects over the last few weeks but the way I see it is having this all discovered and cleared now has potentially saved my life!
The majority of people will spend their lives pushing towards their next goal in a state of discontent. People will always be pushing to the goal and they will think in their head “once I hit this goal I will be happy” whether these goals are financial, fitness or something else this is, in general, just not the case. It is important to remember that everyone has problems…. Poor people have poor people problems. Rich people have rich people problems. Fat people have fat people problems and skinny people have skinny people problems…. Everyone has problems and everyone runs into issues in their daily lives that have the potential to ruin their day and leave them feeling crappy. I honestly believe the only way that you can be happy in your life is by altering your perception to see positives instead of negatives right now and not waiting for some external factor to make you happy! If you can be content in your life and enjoy your activities and your interactions with other people you will be happy TODAY.
Be Content.....NOT Lazy!
I make an important point here. I am not telling you not to strive for a goal. I strive every day of the week to achieve our goals and to improve the lives of my family but I am trying to be content, in the moment, when doing it. When you have allocated time to work then work like crazy but when you are having dinner with your family close it all off in your head and focus totally on the moment and enjoy it. Do not spend your entire life thinking about tomorrow and what you have to get done or about yesterday and what you could have improved on!
My wife (Emily) shared a great quote with me recently
“depression is living in the past, anxiety is living in the future and happiness is living in the moment”
Try and live in the moment!
Thank you so much for reading! As always this article is based on our experiences and point of view and should always be read as such!
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Have a great day!