It's Not Real, It's Just Perception!

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 09-09-2015

Each one of us perceives a situation in a different way based how we filter information and how we see the world.


A situation is just that, a situation and nothing more, it has no meaning, it is not good or bad, it is entirely neutral, it only becomes something when we put a meaning to it.  That meaning is based on numerous factors including our ethnicity, religion or the other person's ethnicity, religion, our current mood, what has happened to us that day, our previous experience of a similar situation, our learned behaviours, our general view of the world etc and is usually made at a subconscious level.

Here's a little experiment in perception.  What do you see when you look at this picture?

Perception _vase 

Some people see two people facing each other; other people see a chalice or large cup.  There is no right or wrong answer; it's simply down to perception.

A good example to illustrate the differences in perception can be seen when I run Outplacement Services for corporate clients (career management programmes for people being made redundant).  One of the first things I do in my first workshop is to go around the room to get an idea of how people are feeling about being made redundant or being under the threat of redundancy.  It never ceases to amaze me how the situation (losing or potentially losing their job) is the same for everyone but how differently each person views it.  Typical responses are:

Delegate 1 - Excitement - "Bring it on!  I can finally get to do what I've always wanted to do."

Delegate 2 - Despair - "Oh my goodness, it's the end of the world, I'll never get another job and then I'll run out of money and then I'll lose my house!"

Delegate 3 - Indifference - "I'm not really bothered, something will come up."

The fact remains that the situation is the same for all of them; their role is ending.  It's not right or wrong, good or bad, it is what it is - it's the meaning that they put to it that affects their emotions and how feel about it and the subsequent actions they take as a result.  

It’s the same principle when someone does something nice for us; we often feel a nice warm feeling of happiness and even a sense of belonging.  However, when someone forgets to do something or doesn’t do it to our exacting standards, we feel aggrieved and hard done to.  If you think about it, it actually has nothing to do with what the person has done or not done, but it has everything to do with the meaning we put to their actions.

We often cannot stop a situation happening, however, we do have full control over what it means to us and subsequently how we feel and what we do about it.  Whether you see a situation as positive or negative, whether you take the learning and move forward or let it engulf you, it’s a choice, your choice, no one else’s.

The next time something happens that is uncomfortable or upsetting take a step back and actively choose how you see it.  If you consciously change your perception of a situation, you will find that your feelings and emotions will change as a result.

Ask yourself:

  • What else could this mean?
  • How do I know this situation/thought to be true?
  • What positives are there in this situation?
  • How can I use this to my advantage
  • What can I do to turn it in to a positive
  • What else could this mean?
  • What can I learn from it?
  • What can I do differently?

Another great way of taking control of a potentially worrying or upsetting situation is to ask yourself, "What will this mean to me in a day, week, month, year?"  If you think that you will not even remember it, let it go, it is not worth worrying about!

If you would like help changing your perceptions and viewing life in more positive terms, contact us for a free, no obligation consultation about how we can help.

JO's FIRST BOOK: Thoughts Become Things

Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.