perception about life

Can perception alter reality and in turn life?

Perception is an intellectual process of transforming the sensory stimuli to meaningful information. In this process through your senses the information from external environment is recognized, selected, received, organized and interpreted, to make it meaningful to you. The most interesting part is, different individuals can perceive the same information differently. It happens due to a range of personal factors. A person’s educational background, past experiences, present feelings, attitude, beliefs, socioeconomic status and cultural background are the factors which can influence the way a person perceives incoming information. Age, gender, race and occupation are the other factors that can also play an influencing role.

Can Perception Alter Reality?

Yes, perception can alter reality. Perception is the glass through which you view reality — yourself, others and the world around you. Is it possible to wear the red glass and try to look white towel as white?  The glass confuses you, with what is being viewed through it. You start believing that the towel is red, which is not a reality.

When you keep wearing the same glass of perception, your perception becomes your reality. It becomes the way you see the world. This pseudo reality becomes integral part of your life and you get disconnected from reality.

Let’s do a small exercise and try to understand how perception changes the reality. I will be showing you few pictures and ask questions about the same. You have to give answers based on the observations you had in the picture.


Can perception alter reality and in turn life?

Hold on and look at the image above for 15 seconds.

Once you have done that, look at the picture shown below for around 30 seconds. Observe it carefully.


Can perception alter reality and in turn life?

Seen the picture above for 30 seconds??

OK, now time for my questions.

Do you see a woman?

Yes, I know you all must have answered correctly.

What do you feel how old is she?

Well, you all probably would describe the woman is around 22 to 25 years old. Few may describe the woman in the second picture to be about 35 years old. Don’t worry; there are no right or wrong answers here.

Now the next question for you, how does she look like?

Your answers would be something like a pretty woman, who has a petite nose but sharp features and a bit of shy nature.

What is she wearing?

Well not only you, anyone will say she has a good sense of fashion. Wearing nice necklace, a furry shawl and that feather at head adds to her looks.

 In what kind of roles do you see her?

Your answers may be a hollywood actress or a fashion model who is Show-stopper of any fashion show.

Though, I mentioned earlier not to worry; as there are no right or wrong answers here. But what if I were to tell you that you’re wrong? Not for judging the age 25 or 35…,  What if I say you that this picture is of a woman in her 70s or 80s; who looks depressed? She has a large nose and dull looks. And of course she is certainly is no hollywood actress or fashion model. She must be a grandmother of few toddlers.

Don’t believe on me?

Scroll back and look at the picture again. Can you now see the old woman? If you can’t then come back at this point again……….

Well as you could not spot the old woman in the above image, look at the picture shown below and study the image carefully for 15 seconds.

 Can perception alter reality and in turn life?

 Also Read: How to cultivate the habit of growth mindset for success


Done ??

Now scroll back and look at the previous picture again.

Can you see the old woman now? If you are still unable to see an old woman in the picture keep continue looking at it until you see.

The exercise of the picture we did above is conceptualized from the book The 7 habits of highly effective people  written by Stephen Covey. I first participated into this exercise while studying about  perception psychology 21 years ago during my post graduation in management at the IIT Kharagpur.  Through this exercise Stephen Covey has conveyed an extremely fascinating, signifying the powerful reality that we all perceive things differently. This perception is determined by influences around us and surprisingly most of the time we aren’t even aware of it and think it’s the only way things can be.

Did you notice how looking at the picture from another angle changed the whole meaning what the picture was all about?  How did your perception made you to look at the woman first as beautiful young woman and later on an old depressed woman? Just like looking at a picture from another angle, your point of view on life can be modified as well. And, if you change your perception, you change your reality, and in turn, you change life.

Over to you now, what do you feel, can perceptions change your reality? Share with us in comment section your experiences of perception vs reality and views on how perceptions can change the life?

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