The Truth Behind Perception

Perception is a pervasive thing.  It permeates all facets of our lives, whether we acknowledge it or not.

I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while, how perception has been both a benefit and a detriment in my own life: preconceived notions that others had about me that were wrong and those that I had about others that were completely off.  The fact is, how we see others is based on our own notions and experiences, and has little, if nothing, to do with the people we are engaged with.  This also goes with expectations we have of others.  The whole thing is an internal marketing ploy passed down through generations; a shadow of our primal hunger/gatherer days when eating a red berry meant either life or death.

I make this statement because of something personal: belief, particularly the level of belief a person has in you and you have in yourself.  These are not one and the same.  I can tell you from my own experience that whatever your family believes you are capable of, whether good or bad, has nothing to do with your own capability.  Growing up, my parents didn’t think much of my abilities and pushed me to become a lawyer or a doctor: the dream of many Asian parents.  They never supported my dreams of working in entertainment, and even when, as an adult, I worked for the largest record label in the world, when I was working for major film and television, they were so locked in on their belief, that they failed to see reality.  That’s what blind faith looks like.

Carl Levin, Darren Bagert, Justin Guarini,

The problem isn’t when others feel this way about you, but when you feel this way about yourself.  When you disenfranchise yourself to the mere possibility of dreaming bigger, you close yourself off from the opportunity, not the other way around.  I have met many folks who only dream in micro-doses, in bite sized morsels because of their fear of failure.  Limited vision will only keep you in limited progression.  If the mirror in which you envision your best self doesn’t stretch you and your existence, make you better, grants you healthier relationships and a happier life, then you’re limiting your possibilities.

Understand, we are talking about you, not your partner, not your best friend, not your children: only you.  You cannot force your loved ones to expand their view if they don’t want it as you cannot be forced to diminish your dreams by your friends and loved ones, unless you allow them.  Forcing someone to confine to your vision is essentially you forcing them to change for your sake, because manipulating change over others is never for them, but for your own comfort level.  There’s a reason that the first step out of addiction is to personally admit to yourself that you have a problem.  If you truly love them, let them run their own race – no judgement.

Now here’s the one thing I’ve come to realize…

If those around you do not believe in you, that’s fine.  They don’t have to, but you do.  If you’re a bible reader, I can give you several superstars of our faith that came upon family opposition (Joseph, David, Jesus).  If you’re not Christian, there are plenty of famous people that went through the same crisis.  The one thing that people forget to mention is if one group doesn’t support you, there are always folks out there who will, who will believe in you and your abilities, but you’re going to have to push through, focus on your game, and continue to move forward.  You’re going to have to not take personally the perception of those who have limited fields of vision.  You’re going to have to understand none of their perception is about you.

Just continue to move forward.

The best tool I can offer you in respect to this comes from Don Miguel Ruiz.  The Four Agreements is an absolutely amazing read.  I met Mr. Ruiz when I was still working in Sony, a few years after he released this book.  He spoke of the wisdom taught inside, which breaks down to the following:

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

If you get a moment, I’d highly suggest reading it and adding it into your toolbox.  His book offers a perspective based on Toltec wisdom that has been carried down through generations on how to live a better life and it will truly offer you some great “aha” moments.

Thanks for reading and let me know your comments on this post.