My dear, perception is everything

The older I get the more I understand reality isn’t necessarily real. At least, my reality may not be your reality. My reality is processed through my filters and spits out as as my perception of reality. While we may find others that share similar filters, no two filters truly process the same. Here is an example of how our perception influences our reality.

One day at work, I walked down the long hallway. At the end of the long hallway is an exit if you go straight or a kitchen if you turn to left right before you get to the exit. This particular time, I carried my lunch to warm up in the microwave. I was heading to the kitchen.

But as I walked down the long hallway I saw a co-worker standing outside the exit door peering in. In order to open the door, a badge is required to unlock it. It appeared as if my co-worker was locked out and needed help to enter.

Of course I was willing to help him out. Who hasn’t forgotten to take their badge with them and found themselves locked out a time or two? I have had to rely on the mercy of others to open the door from time to time.

As I drew closer to the door though the co-worker turned his back to me and took a few steps the other way. I could see other people were outside with him. The other people were not employees and did not have badges either.

“Oh, maybe he isn’t locked out. Maybe he is just waiting.” I thought and at the last second did not open the door but turned into the kitchen. My perception of the event had changed and influenced my action.

Another co-worker was walking behind me the whole time. From the kitchen I heard that she opened the door and let the our fellow co-worker in. I heard him thank her.

Now, he probably thinks I am a jerk because I didn’t open the door for him. And he is right. I should have at least opened it and checked. I realize that now.

But if we were to share our stories can you imagine the different spins we could each share?

His could be a story of being a victim. “I was standing outside and nobody would let me in. I waited outside forever. She walked down the hall and didn’t even open the door! How rude.”

But I could also play the victim. “I was going to open the door for him but he walked away. How was I supposed to know he wanted in?”

The point is, life is about perception not about fact. If you’re waiting for fact and something everyone will agree on you will have a long wait and die of old age. It is not going to happen. Life is about perception and learning to communicate our perception to build understanding.

That is the only way to build unity. And we need some unity. But that is only my perception.

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