Per cep tion
: the way you think about or understand someone or something
: the ability to understand or notice something easily
: the way that you notice or understand something using one of your senses
Perception is an interesting aspect to life. It can be the thing that sends an individual soaring to the top with success or it can tear an individual down until they can’t go on anymore.
The amazing part about perception is that it is 100% under our control. No one can change how we view things in life if we don’t want them to. If we are weak and impressionable in the mind, a simple look can make us feel down in the dumps. However, if we are proud and confident of whom we are, that look can be brushed off like chalk on a chalk board.
I’m not breaking any news to anyone when I say that the social media heavily influences our self-worth when it comes to image.
From the images shown in ads, movies, and such tell us that girls and women are supposed to be tall and slender but not too tall or slender because then they would be “awkward”…their supposed to be curvy and soft but not too curvy or soft because then they would be “overweight”.
Men are supposed to be strong and masculine…but not too strong because then they would be meatheads and not to masculine because then they don’t have an ounce of emotion or compassion.
No matter the gender, each has an unfortunate standard held above us.
In society’s eyes, no matter what or who you are, you aren’t quite enough. This thought leads to a negative mindset and perception. It’s downright confusing! If our thoughts are consumed of what we should be then we will never become who we were put on this earth to be.
If you believe every negative thing you thought about yourself or that you were told, you would be one sad soul. But you don’t have to. If you train your mind to squash the negatives and soak up the positives, you could be a wild success in all your endeavors!
Let’s practice challenging our perspective by taking a look at this picture. Would you believe me if I said that these two blocks are the same exact color? When I first saw this picture I thought to myself “probably because why else would you say that?”, yet I couldn’t figure out how they were the same color.
When I was told to cover the spot where the blocks connect, I then noticed that the blocks were the same color. Who knew right?! They are in fact the same color and a new perspective was shed.
The same strategy used in the picture above can be used in our everyday life as well. Until we block certain parts out (the negative), you aren’t able to see the positive. One way to be able to do this is to change our patterns… take a new way to work, try something new for dinner tonight, or go somewhere different for evening walk/run/bike etc..
It comes down to changing our realities. In the book Before Happiness by Shawn Achor, he discusses changing our realities which ultimately is our perception. We can expose ourselves to a broader range of ideas and answers when we shift our focus on what we pay attention to.
Training our brain is like training our muscles… it takes time and repetition. When we can train our brain to associate more positives to a situation, our brain will improve its “flexibility” in its ability to find and pursue the best possible reality.
One simple way to put some perspective on your current place in life is to be appreciative. When is the last time you thought about all the great things that went on during your day? There is a great little word with a huge impact called gratitude.
At the end of the day today, sit down and write 3 things that you are grateful for from your day. It could be something said to you, the weather, or a person in your life… anything! It’s what YOU are grateful for. This can take a measly 5 minutes if you wanted and could do a world of good.
Gratitude journaling is just a small tool in starting to shift your focus as you approach your days. I know firsthand that this has played a huge role in my current outlook at how I approach things at home, the workplace, my training, in my relationships, and most importantly with myself.
“…before happiness and success comes your perception of the world. So before we can be happy and successful, we need to create a positive reality that allows us to see the possibility for both.”
-Shawn Achor, author of Before Happiness