Hello and Welcome,
Great to have you here to once again to share in some ideas of what is reality for you. I know from personal experience that my perception, or should I say lack of perception has landed me in hot water so many times I have lost count. Living in China with its different cultures and having a Chinese girlfriend has added to my desire to open my eyes and see that my perception is an ever-evolving process in which I delight.
Thinking I was right about something and expressing my opinion without having all the information has led me to have to apologise over and over again. Jumping to conclusions is a trait we all have, but it doesn’t have to be, awareness of our reaction to things, people and situations is a process that over time can be altered and left behind.
Before we move on I would like to once again define perception…
- The way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
- A belief or opinion often held by many people and based on how things seem.
I might also add that these perceptions are accumulated out of our memory of past experiences and/or our imagination of future events based on our past experiences.
The photo below is an excellent example of our different perceptions!
Having viewed the photo above, depending on your own personal perception, you will have seen a young woman, or you will have seen an older woman. People have argued till their black and blue that there is only a young woman, and on the other team, they argue there is only an old woman. Both are right, after some time you will have seen both. I offer you now the same photo in colour which may help in seeing them both.
Let’s have a look at some other examples of perception to highlight just how easy it is to be blind to things that are happening all around us. I know you will be able to relate to every simple story of our lack of the truth. Please take a step back and understand we are all lacking in knowing the full story. Have a laugh at yourself!
THE PHANTOM BUSKER
It was in Washington DC, at a metro station on a cold January morning in 2007, as I watched and listened a man with a violin who played six different BACH pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped and watched for a few seconds, then hurried on to meet his schedule.
About 4 minutes later…
The violinist collected his first dollar. A woman threw money in his hat and without stopping, continued on her way.
At 6 minutes…
A young man leaned up against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and off he went.
At 10 minutes…
A 3-year-old boy stopped to watch but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to once again look at the violinist, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several children, but every parent without exception forced their children to keep moving.
At 45 minutes…
The musician played continuously. Only 6 other people bothered to stop and listen for a short while. Another 20 gave money, but not one of them stopped as they all continued to walk off at their normal pace.
After 60 minutes…
He finished playing and silence took over. He began to pack up his things. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all!
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest, most celebrated musicians in the world. He had just played some of the most intricate pieces of music ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days prior, Joshua Bell sold out a theatre in Boston, where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music
This is a true story! Joshua Bell, playing incognito in DC metro station was organised by the Washington Post Newspaper as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and peoples priorities.
The Experiment Raised Several Questions…
In a commonplace environment at an appropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognise talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this…
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…
How Many Other Things Of Importance And Beauty Are We Missing As We Rush Through Life?
Take Some Time To Stop And Smell The Flowers
THE COOKIE THIEF
A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shop, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her as bold as can be,
grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock as the gutsy cookie thief diminished the lot.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking if I wasn’t so nice I’d blacken his eye.
With each cookie, she took he took one too when only one was left she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half and she ate the other she then snatched it from him and thought ‘oh brother.’
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude.
She had never known when she had been so galled, sighing with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed for the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane and sank in her seat, then she sought her book which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies in front of her eyes.
If mine are here she moaned in despair, the others were his and he tried to share.
Too late to apologise, she realised with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief!
The Black Spots
One day a professor entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin. The professor handed out the exams, with the text facing down as usual. Once he had handed them all out he asked the students to turn the papers over.
To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions, just a black dot in the centre of the paper. The professor seeing the expression on everyone faces told them the following. I want you to write about what you see there, the students got confused and then got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class, the professor took all of the exam papers and started reading each one of them out loud in front of the students. All of them with no exception defined the black dot. trying to explain it’s position in the centre of the sheet. After all of them had been read, the classroom was silent as the professor started to explain.
I’m not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. Not one wrote about the white part of the page, everyone focused on the black dot. and the same thing happens in our lives.
However, we insist on focusing only on the black spots, the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend.
These dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds. Take your eyes away from the black dots in your lives, and enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you, be happy and live a life filled with love.
Changing The World
When I was a young man I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town, and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now as an old man, I realised the only thing I can change was myself. Suddenly I realised that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family, my family and I could have made an impact on our town, their impact could have changed a nation, and I could have indeed changed the world!
Well, there we have it, hope you enjoyed this article on perception as much as I have enjoyed researching it. If you would like to delve a little deeper into perceptions please go here https://gettingthingsorted.com/lighthouse-principles-perceptions-and-paradigm-shifts–
I sincerely welcome any comments, thoughts, opinions or experiences you would like to share. Please just leave them in the comment box below.