Your Perception Is Your Reality

My experience with various groups of learners over the years, has brought me to the realisation that human nature, by no deliberate fault of the human, is such that we don’t allow ourselves to embrace the positive. We are therefore directly responsible for our situations and circumstance.

I fully understand the fact that this may be a difficult pill to swallow, however as we are in the business of problem solving, let’s consider this view objectively.

One typical example is a question I pose to almost every group.

Your “to do” list for tomorrow starts with task one: Laundry. Your intention before going to bed is to set your alarm a little earlier, do the laundry and hang out to dry before leaving for work.

You open your eyes to the monotonous buzzing of your alarm, taking a few minutes; you coax your mind out of idle mode to an unclouded state of vigilance.

You give into the involuntary full body stretch that forces a rush of invigorating oxygen into your blood stream. Swinging your legs over the side of the bed, you plant your feet firmly on the ground and stand up to the conviction that this is going to be an amazingly productive day.

As you move towards the window of your bedroom, your mind’s eye glimpses the “to do” list you prepared last night and the refined machine which is your mind, starts to process the first item of business for the day, the laundry.

As you reach the window, and draw back the shades, all processing, evaluation and analytical review abruptly stops. It’s as if some imaginary force has slammed on the brakes and your mind is reeling.

Reality is right there, beyond the glass window pane… Rain. Steady, unrelenting, wet, inhibiting rain.

What are the first words that come out your mouth?

Typical responses consist of the more animated versions of “What the Fudge!” “Oh Shoot!” “?@#!”

My next question to my group of completely disgruntled learners is “Why?” “What has changed, what has you so upset?”

Their response being, “the rain, it’s the rain, the rain ruined the day!”

“Really? Can you control the weather? What can you do differently, seeing as you still need to do the laundry?”

Ahh, and now slowly, but surely, this creative bunch come up with various solutions to their dilemma. From make shift clothing lines on the inside of the house, to hanging clothes behind the refrigerator (which I do not advise).

It was not the rain that changed your mood, or stressed you out, it was you. You are so focused on the problem, that the energy you use on the complaining, wallowing in self-pity and blame is almost totally depleted. So when the time comes for you to face reality and find a solution, your response time is so much slower and you don’t perform at your optimal.

We find ourselves focusing on the things we cannot control, case in point, the rain. You cannot stop the rain, cannot change the fact that it’s raining, your many animated responses have no effect on the rain yet you complain. All this does is working you up to the point of exhaustion. What can we learn from this?

When you are faced with any situation, take a second or two to think about how you want to react. Of course it’s difficult, as are all aspects of change. Focus your energy on productively resolving the issue and disregard aspects that you know that you, yourself can do nothing about.

A quick exercise for those of you reading this and thinking, “I don’t do that,” think of all the things that have frustrated you, or caused you to curse in the last few hours…

Let me assist… the traffic jam that made you 5 minutes late, the fuel price increase, the coffee that was a bit too hot, the lack of available parking bays, the length of time you had to wait for the elevator… How many of these things can you actually change?

No wonder we are always stressed to the point of breakdown, our tolerance so tightly wound, it feels as though we could snap at the slightest inference of an actual challenge.

You are your own worst enemy; you are also the ultimate director of your life’s screen play. Focus only on what you can change. Everything begins with a decision, what will yours be? Your perception is your reality.

By Sirisha Govender

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner
%d bloggers like this: