When was the last time you said, “Perception is reality”?
Have you ever had someone report an incorrect interpretation of what you said or did? Then, as you try to explain the facts and fill in the “truth gap” they flippantly say, “Perception is reality!”
When we develop an attitude or understanding based solely on what is observed or thought that is our perception. Perceptions are not always reality when reality is focused on truth or facts.
I find it to be a small step from perception…thinking something is true based on observation, to making assumptions…accepting something as true without verifying it.
Assumptions often lead to irresponsible decisions. However, the word “assume” can also mean taking responsibility for something. Interesting.
We can protect relationships and increase our decision making success by taking responsibility for our assumptions and perceptions.
Making assumptions based only on one’s personal perceptions creates conflict, distrust, encourages unproductive behavior, and hinders effective decision making. Performance suffers.
Assumptions and perceptions are closely linked together.
Who is responsible for perceptions?
Is it you or me?
I believe it is us…you and I are both responsible for perceptions.
Sure, it is easier to go with what we observed or thought to be the case and make the assumption…especially, when we have a personal agenda.
Do you find it interesting how our perception of those we support is positive, while our perception of those we disagree with is negative?
The mature thing to do is to be responsible for our assumptions. Said another way, we take responsibility to seek the truth, not believe something is true because we “think it is” or we may observe something that leads us down a negative path in support of our negative perception.
The other responsible thing is to be aware of how we “show up”.
How do you want to be seen?
Taking responsibility for your “persona” is about taking charge of how you are perceived by yourself and others.
- Persona is about discovering the truth of your identity and how it is revealed and projected
- We can choose to change our persona or the image we portray
- How we think about ourselves impacts how we live and how others perceive us
Here is another approach and exercise you may use around identifying your persona.
- Remember this is a process
- Honesty is key
- What is your desired outcome; what qualities do you want to embody?
- This is about your identity: who you are at work, home, wherever you go
- Begin by writing one or two complete sentences using positive concepts
- This is about who you “be” rather than what you “do”
- Feedback may help you as you ask others “How do you experience me?”
- Answer the following two questions:
- How do I believe I am presently perceived?
- How do I want to be perceived?
The bottom line is that managing perceptions is everyone’s responsibility.
- It is our responsibility to seek truth, not hide behind a perception of another person, with the cop-out: “perception is reality”
- It is our responsibility to manage our persona or image by being aware of our behavior and how it affects those we do life with
- It is important to remember assumptions are to be challenged when we care about truth
In a previous article, I suggested three steps to protecting relationships threatened by the limiting behavior of making assumptions that applies to our perceptions:
- Slow it down
- Check your thinking
- Ask questions
So the next time you hear someone say “Perception is reality” look for a way to ask how they have sought out the truth.
And the next time you hear yourself say “Perception is reality” do a reality check: do you want to know the truth or do you want to hide a possible bias?
What is your experience with perceptions?
How do you manage assumptions?
Please comment below; I’d love to hear from you.