Perception is reality. I don't think so.

A friend and I recently met for a beer.

I engaged him in a conversation we’d had before around my disdain for the phrase perception is reality. My rational mind – I am a trained scientist, after all – tells me that reality is constructed of concrete elements: data, facts, evidence, and the like, with a little conjecture thrown in to fill the voids. Black and white, objective, inarguable, like the effects of gravity, or electricity. Whereas perception is subjective. Facts are not required.

This is the logical basis for my assertion that perception and reality do not equate.

Why this matters (to me) is that people too often make decisions without the awareness of this vital distinction and are led astray. In fact, it gets reinforced in our collective consciousness every time its repeated. You know, Gomer, if you hear it over and over again, it must be true (a perception, not a reality). Worse, people in positions of influence and power take advantage of this naivete to build their own personal power without, I fear, the advancement of humanity at heart.

Neo, wake up.

So that’s a little background about my reality. Or is it my perception about reality? You see, it really is a great concept to explore.

Here’s what took it to the next level, and had me revisit it with my beer-buddy. I’d recently heard the phrase perception is more powerful than reality. I can’t argue with that one. It draws a distinction between the two and opens up the possibility of consideration, of discerning.

When we mistake our perceptions as reality we limit what’s possible because we’ve limited the options.

Look for yourself. Where might you be confusing perception with reality, and how are your choices limited by that reality? The truth is, it’s all perception. Unquestioned, unchallenged our options are limited. In business, can you afford to be oblivious to options, to opportunities?

Let’s continue this conversation and see how it could apply to you and your business.

It’s your move.

Jim McLaughlin
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