“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”
-Leonardo da Vinci
We were living in a large Victorian home in Brattleboro Vermont at the time. The house was built in 1895.
Along a street of similar homes, ours was ‘the neighborhood’ for trick-or-treating.
Folks would bring their kids from all over town on Halloween night. This included children from the nearby Austine School, an education center for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Our first season there, Suzette and I played up the Halloween thing- big time.
We played scary music, used dry ice as ‘smoke’, handed out candy that looked like eyeballs.
I would stand still as a statue until trick-or-treaters reached the bottom step, at which time I’d move, or jerk, or even scream, depending upon the ages of those seeking candy.
We might’ve gone a bit ‘over the top’, as many children were afraid to venture closer than the sidewalk- certainly too scared to get near the towering ghoul with the gnarled staff!
That is…except for the kids who couldn’t hear.
As I stood still as a statue, rather than being terrified, the deaf kids from Austine were fascinated. They came right up the steps. They reached out to touch my boney hand. They wanted to interact.
The BIG Idea
At the point of decision, you and I treat our perception of reality as reality. This is huge because this then plays a pivotal role in crafting our moment-by-moment choices, actions, and behaviors.
We had to figure that the screams and creaks blasting from our haunted house soundtrack put the ‘normal’ kids on alert- there was something to be afraid of at 32 North Street.
Because their perceptions were different however, the deaf kids had little or no fear. I was apparently just an interesting-looking dude with a stick!
Without manufactured fear, those who couldn’t sense the scary sounds had a significantly different experience. I believe ‘Morticia’ might’ve even given ‘em extra candy…
Same circumstances…different perceptions…different experiences and outcomes.
At any given moment, your perceptions of reality, whether through seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, or hearing, create your sense of ‘reality’.
Sometimes your perceptions are spot-on.
Oftentimes they’re not.
What’s important is to recognize that everything you think you ‘know’ began with your perceptions. And taking time to pause and consider this offers great opportunity…
to develop understanding,
elevate quality of decisions, and
to amplify your ability to lead, influence, and inspire.
I began to recognize quite some time ago that there are LOTS of things I don’t ‘know’-
that my perception of reality is often not [true] reality, and
that just because another’s perception is different than mine does not make me right and them wrong.
Recognizing what you don’t ‘know’ is the beginning of wisdom.
And who knows? It might even get you an extra piece of candy!
BTW– is the graphic at the top of this episode a drawing of an old hag, a young lady, or something else entirely. What do you perceive?
Which of your perceptions might you consider…or reconsider…today?
Until next time my friend, be well and stay safe.