Do you know that the quality of your life is usually defined by your perception? If you perceive that life is beautiful, you experience its joys. Perceiving life as difficult makes your life empty and beset by problems. Something so simple as how we see things around us can create chaos. Perception is a powerful thing. It can push us to greater potentials or hold us back to mediocrity.
Perception is generated from us. No one forces perception on another person. We usually form perceived notions based on observations, first impressions, biases, beliefs, values, and experiences. Every day, our mind creates solid impressions of situations around us, sometimes letting them define or manipulate our existence. Perception is critical to human survival, allowing us to escape from harm, behaving properly in society, and creating our own realities.
What is perception?
Look for an object in front of you right now and form a one-word perception. Don’t think long, just say or write it. For instance, a mobile phone. How do you perceive your phone? The first thing that comes in your mind is your automatic perception that can shape your reality. Maybe the word you choose is communication or essential. Your perception is hardwired to the automatic system of your brain, providing an instant answer or impression.
Our simple example shows that perception is closely linked to sensory experience. We use our five senses: sight, taste, sound, smell, and touch to form a perception based on the sensation we receive. We respond accordingly to the stimulus or action we perceive. It also includes another set of senses called proprioception, detecting changes in movements and body positions.
The power of perception
The power of our perception to situations and events that we confront on a daily basis can make or break our lives. Hence, the importance of perceiving things logically and accurately.
- Perception is a great predictor of our reality. If you say you can, you will. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “When I believe I can, I acquire the ability to do it.” When you can perceive or imagine a beautiful, successful life, it awakens a deep-seated drive to make it a reality.
- Perception is a reflection of our thoughts and emotions. Often, we see things based on our own experiences. To make our chosen reality beautiful, filtering our perception is important. Remember that how you perceive things from the outside manifests some internal part that is present in your reality. If you believe that alcoholic beverage is detrimental to health, then you perceive it as such. Your perception becomes your reality.
- Perception is a tool to understand the physical world. The creation of perception begins in “Why?” Use it to grow and innovate. Optimize the power of perception by becoming aware of what you want to know, to change, and to achieve. Almost everything we perceive is just an idea, a concept, or an illusion until you make it your own and use it to form habits. It acts as a filter to interpret the world and allow us to live without becoming overwhelmed by lots of stimuli.
The Pitfalls of Misperception
Just the slightest misperception can place you on the wrong path. It can throw you off track and lead you to a life not wanted. Misperception is considered to be a truism that is distorted by your own experience, conflicts, needs, and wishes.
- It neglects the importance of realistic conflicts. When you continue to hang on the belief that something is based on the actual clash of opposing interests, you tend to manifest a negative social behaviour. You refrain from acknowledging the necessity to understand the whole operation that can transform conflict situations into positive structures. You fail to balance interests and help you recognize the abilities of other people.
- It makes conflicts undesirable. Conflicts may be negative and cause destruction, injury, harm, or death, but they are not totally undesirable. They serve as a means to correct misperceptions that bind society together where people live harmoniously.
- It gives a negative impression that you are shallow and judgmental. You will be perceived by others as unfair, stubborn, and lazy (cognitive misers).
Steps to Harness the Benefits of Perception
We need to pay close attention to how we perceive things and not let opinions shape what we see. Check out these vital steps to avoid misperception:
- Pay attention.
If you want to gain accurate perception, focus your attention on what you need to see, touch, smell, hear, or taste. If it involves using your sense of proprioception (movements or positions), then do the same. Do not allow your biases to taint what you perceive during the moment. Allow yourself to be mindful and present at that moment.
- Acknowledge your perception.
Recognizing what you perceive makes the experience more meaningful. It helps you understand the world around you or the people you encounter. By becoming aware of the sensations you perceive, you can place them in meaningful categories that help you react appropriately and wisely.
Taking action is the final step of the process. It is your response to the stimulus, making you turn away or look at the object closer. This is where your automatic responses kick in, so it is vital to develop mindfulness to help you separate the event and your reaction. When you choose to be mindful, you build the tenacity to control your life narratives.
Here’s what you can do:
- Notice when you are about to let your automatic response manifests.
- Stop to collect your thoughts and emotions.
- Release your biases that influence your automatic reaction.
- Consider other interpretations of how you consider the event, situation, person, or object of interest.
- Choose the most empowering and positive narrative.
- Act with enthusiasm.
As the cliché goes, “Life is what you make of it.” You need to understand that not all life events have universal meanings that define your existence. Stop being imprisoned by old perceptions and stereotypes that conditioned your mind for years. Manage your perception to enjoy amazing results as you align your habits, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Master the art of perception of seeing things objectively and cultivating mindful awareness. Give yourself a chance to rewrite your own narratives and live your best life.