Perception is Reality
Perhaps it is more true to say that perception parades as reality.
The Power of Perception
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
We commonly see the power of perception in the acts of great illusionists. From the mundane to the fantastic we have see illusions of people cut in half and restored, to vanishing cars, planes, and elephants. We know that the reality is that no one was actually cut in half and that the objects did not vanish. However, for a moment our minds struggle to wrap around the enormity of the perception created by the illusionist.
The same principle is true in our everyday lives. How we perceive our world has the power to influence what we think is the reality of our world. As a simplified example take the illusion of the disappearing coin. The illusionist places a large coin (i.e. a fifty cent piece) in the palm of their hand and leaving their hand open covers it with a small cloth. He then allows the people standing around him to reach under the cloth and touch the coin to verify that it is still really in the palm of his hand. After the bystanders have verified that the coin is still in the palm of his hand, one of the bystanders gently removes the cloth… and the coin is gone. This is then done in reverse and the coin returns. The perception is that the illusionist has made the coin disappear and reappear “magically” from the palm of his hand. Our minds struggle with this perception, knowing that there must be some form of trick. Surely what we see, our perception can’t actually be reality.
The Problem with Perception
The problem with our perception is that it is commonly filtered through the lenses of our experiences, emotions, and biases. As such the actions of others can easily be misinterpreted. In other words the reality of others actions can be radically different from our perception of those same actions. In the same way our perception of our status, role, and acceptance in a group can be radically different from the reality of what each individual in a group actually perceives our status, role, or acceptance.
The most common problem in the struggle of perception in a group is the self-fulfilling prophecy. We perceive that our status in the group is that we are unimportant. We perceive that our role in the group has been relegated to the unimportant. We perceive that we are not accepted as one of the core members. With these perceptions we act in a corresponding manner. The result is that regardless of the actual reality of the initial situation we end up in the reality of the initial perception.
It is often because of the perception of an individual’s status, capability, or potential that potential opportunities are limited or not offered. This robs not only the individual who has missed the fullness of an opportunity but also those who may have benefited from the potential of the results that may have come from the individual having had the opportunity.
Aligning Perception and Reality
We need to keep a very tight grasp on reality so as to not lose squander opportunity to the illusion that is perception. To achieve this we must invest in knowing and understanding our team members and ourselves. This is accomplished by moving past any bias or rumor, and confident action that is devoid of the jaundice of emotion. Direct conversation, honest questions, and honest answers are key in parting the veil of the illusion of perception.
We move past perception and to the ability to positively affect someone’s life when we act in reality. The reality is:
• Not everyone agrees with us, believes the way we believe, or holds the same values as we hold.
• Someone’s disagreement with us is not necessarily an offense or threat.
• It is not our job to prove that we are right and someone else is wrong. It is our job to serve.
• We serve God not man. God judges the hearts of men and calls them. Therefore, we are to work in service of God, serving others without regard as to their alignment with our beliefs.
• We are to stay true to our beliefs and demonstrate the reality of our relationship with God through Jesus through our service and actions.
• The reality is that we all have failed God and are not worth of a relationship with Him (Romans 3:23).
• God has prepared a way for all people, in spite of their spiritual state or beliefs, to have relationship with Him (John 3:16-17, Romans 5:8).
We live in reality when we acknowledge who we are in Christ act in accordance with His Word.