Thursday, December 4, 2014

Perceptions and Reality

We have all heard the saying that people’s perception is their reality. I would like to flip the script on that saying by offering that peoples reality, is based on their perceptions. 

Recently I was visiting my parents.  At the end of the visit, I was going to the airport with my father who apologized for the visit not being very fun.  I thought for a second, and disagreed with him (not an uncommon occurrence).  “What was he thinking”, I thought to myself.  This was a great visit, but his perception is that there always had to be something going on in order for me to enjoy myself.  In fact, it was just the opposite.

I responded to him about all the things that I got to do, and refocused his perception on all the positive things that we did.  I am fortunate that I am mid-40’s, have both my parents still very much alive, have two brothers, and a sister who have all been individually successful.

After thinking about it for a few moments, my Dad agreed that is was a good visit.  His reality is that there has to be activity continuously occurring in order to have an enjoyable time. My reality is that presence is more important than activity.

Here are a couple of tidbits that helped him understand that I had an enjoyable time.
  1. I was with them for Thanksgiving
  2. Thanksgiving was a White Thanksgiving (earlier than a White Christmas)
  3. I stayed with my sister and brother in law during a major power outage
  4. I participated in a 5K
  5. I got to have lunch with one of my oldest friends
  6. I had beers for the first time with my youngest brother who is 15 years younger than I….so did my Dad.
  7. I got to see deer in their front yard within about 25 feet of me
  8. I appreciated where I came from, versus where I was, or where I was headed
So, if you are thinking that a persons perception is their reality, flip the script and realize their reality is based in their perceptions.  Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  Make your own positive impression on others by showing them what they have, versus what they don’t have.  In doing so, you just never know how you can flip someone’s perception and change their reality.



  1. In rhetoric and comp circles this concept would be explained by the concept of discourse communities and subjectivism. Now that's a mouthful, but same general concept ;)

  2. Perfect example of perception and reality and how they vary for each of us. Interesting that you Dad felt it might not have been a good visit because of what he felt YOU were thinking! When you think about that, it's kind of sweet:)

  3. Interesting post Mark. Sometimes your perception if different if you're the visitor rather than the host. Maybe your father was feeling a little responsible for the "fun" you would have when visiting.

  4. Mark- Nice to see that you are back. Since we all have opinions how we view things is our own perception and of which becomes our reality. We go on what we have experienced. There are so many times I think when someone reacts to something that is so different from what the situation really is, their own perception comes into play.

  5. Very nice post and great way to make us think in other way.
    I feel that perception and reality do change if we change our behavior or thought towards them. I am happy that you have convinced your Dad about that.
    I feel towards same thing we all have different perceptions and by discussion we can change the minds and realities.