are the basis of all actions. Decisions, judgements, attitudes, emotions,
all the choices made by individuals, organizations, and communities
are based on the perceptions of the people involved. Understanding
the concept of perception is necessary for making correct decisions
are what people think that they see in a given situation. Two people
can have different perceptions of the same situation. Two people can
look at a drug addict with one seeing a criminal and the other seeing
a victim of circumstance, a third person could claim to see a case
of mental illness. According to different frames of judgement, each
could be correct.
each of these people listens to the other with the intent to understand,
their individual comprehension of the event increases. This helps
their perception become more complete and accurate. This increases
the likelihood of correct and beneficial decisions and actions.
are based on assumptions and/or opinions that are often subconscious.
Sometimes these assumptions are buried so deeply in the subconscious
that the person is not aware of their sources. Being aware of the
sources of these assumptions is one key to making correct and effective
are many common assumptions that influence decisions. These assumptions
range from seeing the world as a hostile place to seeing it as an
hospitable place. The causes of these assumptions can usually be traced
to things that occurred in a persons life and the decisions
made by the person concerning these events.
events and decisions that form perceptions can be many and varied.
A semester of abuse by a school teacher, or any one in a position
of authority can cause a person to decide that authority is an adversary.
A period of support by the same kind of authority figure can make
a person think of authority as something to work with. The teaching
and advice of the same authority figure can also influence a persons
teaching should be questioned and tested for accuracy. A step toward
accurate perception is to question everything that you think and find
out if it is based on teaching, experience, fact, myth or speculation.
Then you must find out why you have adopted these assumptions and
find out if they are useful or hindering.
is often difficult to be aware of what you are thinking in a given
situation. The key to becoming aware of your own perceptions is the
question why? Ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable
in the presence of a person with a different color of skin, why you
think that money or technology is evil or good, why you are in favor
of or against a political position, why you are afraid of a country,
person or thing, why you need to influence or be approved by other
people. You must answer these questions honestly. Ask yourself why
you answered your first why the way you did.
next step is to look at the situation again and try to be objective
or at least try to view it from a different point of view. If you
originally saw a person who you thought was a threat, try to see if
the person is perhaps feeling threatened by you or is in an unfamiliar
situation and acting defensive. Try to understand why you think the
things that you think. You must learn to keep your eyes and mind open
to possibilities and to recognize the difference between speculation
spend much time reacting rather than thinking. They often react using
their speculations as facts to make decisions with. There is an element
of laziness in this fact. Researching and/or honestly and resolutely
trying to recognize the truth is much more difficult than speculation.
It is easier to react than to think. It takes a desire for improvement
to overcome this habit.
of your own thoughts, motivations and perceptions gives you more information
to make effective decisions. Recognizing your own mistakes and misinterpretations
can open your eyes to the things that influence those people that
you associate with. Knowing your own fallibility will increase your
tolerance and understanding of all people.
only person that you even have a chance of really knowing is yourself.
Every time that you decide that you know someone elses mind,
you are basing that judgement on the way that your own mind works.
Your own mind is the only one that you can possibly know.
only thing that you know about other people is what you see them do.
When you try to interpret what you see them do, you are forced to
use the only mind that you know, your own. When you condemn someone
elses actions based on the workings of your own mind, you are
really criticizing yourself. This knowledge is the basis of tolerance.
perception can only be achieved by observing without opinion. You
must look only at what happened and know when you are guessing or
speculating. You must see only that a person appears uncomfortable
and that you only suspect them to be hostile. You must see only that
there are clouds in the sky and realize that you only suspect that
it will soon rain. You must always keep in mind the difference between
what happens and that you are interpreting it.
it is necessary to speculate and extrapolate in order to plan, but
you must remain aware that your plans are based on guessing, however
educated the guess, and that your speculation could be incorrect and
you may have to adjust your plans accordingly. You will find that
your actions and plans become more appropriate as your perceptions
become more objective and accurate. Accurate perception will introduce
you to the joy of discovery and the fun of finding out what happens
perception is the key to living with and enjoying both the expected
and the unexpected. Accurate perception releases you from the burden
of always being right because it reveals that no one is always right.
Accurate perception eventually shows you how much leeway God built
into His universe for the benefit of us all. This is the basis of
tolerance, understanding and humility.
From "Thoughts and Speculations" by R.M.R.
Appears with permission of copyright holder