Perception is Trickier Than You Think

In this video you will find some rather fun tricks that your eyes can play on you. More importantly though, the video shows something about how perception is not exactly what we think it is. While the video focuses on how we see the world in a way that lets us best react to it, the same is true for how others perceive us and how we perceive others. This is a life skill that many are not talented at. Once you understand how important perception is you will look at your life in a whole different light.

Perception is Judgmental

At the basic level, we judge when we perceive. When our eyes take in information we make a judgment about what we see. That tree over there is about a five minute walk from here and is fairly tall and brown and green. This grass is dying because some of it is turning brown. We don’t think about the judgment that we make but we do.

Now, we do the exact same thing with other people. In retail, I remember always feeling judged by the big shots that came into the store. I felt they looked at me as someone that could not make it and that is why I was working in retail. That couldn’t be farther from the truth, it was just what I truly loved to do.

When I was younger, before I started chasing down philosophies and ideas on how to lead a better, more successful life, I would judge others. I remember riding in the car with my father somewhere and seeing a homeless man on the side of the street. I only saw him for a moment as we drove by. We were farther out of town than normal, and I wasn’t sure what the destination was, but it was some time to spend with my dad. He asked me to tell him about the man we saw. I said he was homeless, probably begged for alcohol and made a series of mistakes that led to that particular point in his life.

My father told me that the man was my uncle. A brilliant man before he was sent to Vietnam and suffered from PTSD. He never took the medication, or at least it didn’t work well enough, and he ended up on the streets a shell of his former self. The family still knew him and helped him as they could, out of the eyes of the kids, and he stayed on the streets because it is where he was comfortable.

In essence, I put my own judgment, which I spent a split second in making, on who I perceived that man to be. Truthfully, the story was a long one, one that a book could be written about. This is the same with every person you meet. You will go to a retail store or fast food restaurant and you will see someone later on in life and make a judgment about why they are working in that position. This is not a fair way to think about them. They may truly love that job, or maybe they are moonlighting to pay for a friend or family member to earn their own degree.

What You See Is Not What You Get

In the end, you cannot make judgments about people until you get to know who they are and what makes them tick. Carry this on to your work life as well. Some of the best managers I ever worked with are those that treated me in a way that made me feel as if I were an equal in everything but title. Understand also, that others will judge you based on what they see. Show them what they want you to know. If you want to look like a guy that writes for a living and tries to keep up with a maniac of a 4 year old, stop shaving, age beyond your years and always look tired. If you want to look like someone that should be in a role of leadership within your company, dress and act that way at all times. Perception is tricky and can do a great deal of harm if you do not treat it objectively.

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