For Better or Worse: The Object of my Perception

Duck or rabbit?

What do you see in this drawing?

Tilt your head slightly to the left and look at this drawing. Do you see the rabbit? It’s facing to the right with its ears tilted horizontally behind its head on the left. Now tilt your head slightly to the right, and focus on the duck. It’s gazing to the left with its long bill (what just looked like the rabbit’s ears) partly open. Which view is “reality?” What we see depends on what we’re looking for.

Our perception is our reality. In their book, What the Bleep Do We Know!?, William Arntz, Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente explain, “The bottom line, at least as far as science has gone up till now, is this: We create the world we perceive. When I open my eyes and look around, it is not ‘the world’ that I see, but the world my human sensory equipment is able to see, the world my belief system allows me to see, and the world that my emotions care about seeing or not seeing.”

“Medical School Syndrome” is an example of the power of perception. Medicinenet.com describes it as “a form of acute hypochondriasis that affects most people in training to be a physician. For example, when studying Hodgkin disease, a medical student feels behind their ears or neck, feels little lymph nodes (that are entirely normal), and thinks they have Hodgkin disease.”

It’s all about perspective. Closing one eye and holding our thumb close enough can block out the moon at night. Today’s news often blocks the bigger picture. Pessimistic preconceptions can especially distort reality. A cynical focus on overly negative current events burrows especially deep into our psyche tapping into our darkest fears. A series of studies at the University of Michigan found that “when misinformed people were exposed to accurate information in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. On the contrary, they often became even more strongly wedded to their beliefs. Far from curing misinformation, the facts were actively perpetuating it.

Tomorrow we publish my September blogs in the October issue of The Leader Letter. This issue features my review of, and quotes from, a highly inspiring and perspective changing new book. Steven Pinker’s exhaustive research and extensive analysis helps readers pull their black thumbs of doom from blocking their eye to see the beauty of the moon – and universe – beyond. We’re now living the enlightenment dream. To see it – and change our reality — we need to change our perspective.

You’ll also find my Globe & Mail column on dealing with a bad boss. Upward leadership is an example of perspective and choices. We can wallow in the crap he or she is dumping on us and be miserable. Or we can decide to act like a leader, and change our reality.

When you’re deciding to hang a painting or photo on the wall you’re choosing a perspective. Depending upon the size and color of its frame or matting, the painting or photo can appear larger or smaller, brighter or darker, or imbued with certain colors or tones.

How are you framing turbulence, adversity, or changes in your life? Are you making them bigger or smaller? What color or tone are you accenting? What is the reality that the frames you’re using create for you? How do the glasses you’ve chosen to wear manifest reality in your life?

For over three decades, Jim Clemmer’s keynote presentations, workshops, management team retreats, seven bestselling books, articles, and blog have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The Clemmer Group is the Canadian strategic partner of Zenger Folkman, an award-winning firm best known for its unique evidence-driven, strengths-based system for developing extraordinary leaders and demonstrating the performance impact they have on organizations. Check out www.clemmergroup.com for upcoming webinars and workshops.

Website: http://www.clemmergroup.com

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