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Perception: Changing Your Glasses

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When my wife was pregnant with our first child, it seemed like everywhere I looked there were other pregnant women.  No matter where I went, it seemed like they were all drinking the same water and got pregnant at the same time.  I had never seen so many pregnant women in my life.

But this is because I never looked for them.  I was now seeing the world through the eyes of an expectant father. As soon as my wife had the baby, I started noticing how many newborns and infants were everywhere.  I suddenly stopped seeing all of the pregnant women.

I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience.  How about the first month after you got a new car?  Didn’t you seem to see the same model of that car a lot more than before you purchased it?

How Perception Shapes our World

Our perception not only determines how we see, but also what we see. When we put on a different pair of glasses in which to see the world, a whole new world opens up to us.

We write the prescription for the glasses through which we see the world based on our experiences, thoughts, and beliefs.  It determines the way we interpret and react to various situations in our life. 

People can undergo the same situation but have completely different outcomes.  What is seen as a challenge for one person is seen as an opportunity by another.  A failure can either be proof that you are not good enough, or a valuable learning experience on your way to success.

Some of your perceptions are beneficial and align perfectly with your ambitions.  Others could be slowing or even preventing you from getting to where it is you want to be.

If you believe that everyone is out to get you or hold you down, you will invariably find ways to justify your belief in everything you do.  However, if you think that everything is an opportunity, you were born to be successful, and people will help you to realize your dream – then that is what you will find also.

Our view of the world pulls us like a magnet to only see what we need to see to pass the eye exam so that we don’t have to change glasses.  Even when we are aware of opposing views to our own, many of us just look for people and sources to validate our point of view.  Few liberals listen to Rush Limbaugh and few conservatives watch Rachel Maddow.  

I wear prescription glasses on a regular basis.  When I take them off to clean them I always ask myself, “How could you see through these things?”  Yet just before I cleaned them I hadn’t noticed all of the dirt and smudges that had built up.  I was seeing fine so I assumed they were clean.  But when I put them on after cleaning, I notice how crystal clear everything looks again.

Your perceptions are similar. You can get trapped in tunnel vision and not even realize it. However, this can limit your ability to explore and try the new things needed to make you successful.

Give Yourself an Eye Exam

The first step to changing your perception is to realize you have a view of the world that is unique to you.  Try to start defining that view. Identify the thoughts and beliefs that write your prescription.  Begin to take notice of how you process and interpret any given situation.  Try to start identifying as many different ways as possible to view a situation.

For example, is the cashier being impolite because she is naturally rude, or could it be that she is in pain from standing all day as she goes into her sixth hour of overtime?  Did your boss skip you for a promotion because he has it out for you?  Or could you truly need to improve in some areas before you can advance?  Or better yet could it be a sign that you’re in the wrong job, with the wrong company, or on the wrong career path all together?  I have formed a habit of forcing myself to play devil’s advocate in any significant situation.

Once you have identified your thoughts and beliefs that shape your view of the world, notice how they shape your interpretation of any given situation.  Ask yourself, “If I viewed this situation with a different pair of glasses, how would this affect the outcome?” 

Try a new pair of glasses on for size.  View the world completely different for a week.  For example: This week I am going to see every challenge as an opportunity.  If they don’t fit, you can always change back. 

I hope through the many articles on this site I am helping you to change your view on what is possible.  The emails and feedback I get from you is helping to change mine.

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