Reality is Perception
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
In the hit science-fiction movie The Matrix, Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburn) tries to explain the mind-baffling concept of the Matrix to Neo (Keanu Reeves) who has just had his perception of reality completely changed. Neo’s former perception of reality was no different than that of your ordinary late twentieth-century hacker/software programmer. When Neo made the choice to open his mind to “the real world,” he realized that he was actually living a futuristic nightmare where machines were ruling the earth. Although the concept behind the movie is science fiction (or at least we think it is), it vividly illustrates how one’s perception of reality is reality to that person.
If the whole concept of The Matrix is too “out there” for you, then consider the more common example of the disease anorexia. One who has anorexia nervosa relentlessly pursues thinness. Those with the disease report feeling fat even though they are dangerously thin. In their reality, they are fat, but in other’s reality, the more common reality, they actually weigh 85% or less than what is expected for their age and height. The question is, are your perceptions of reality helping you achieve success or keeping you from it?
Our reality is based on our perceptions. We base our perceptions on a number of factors such as the information we take in, our experiences, our opinions, our feelings and our emotions. When we prejudge people or events, we form feelings and opinions based on limited information, which in turn becomes our reality. We can form more accurate perceptions by not jumping to conclusions or forming opinions until we have adequate information.
If we just wish to change our current perceptions, we need to seek more information. If we want to change our perceptions in a way that will help us achieve success, we still need to seek more information, but analyze that information with a positive mental attitude and with our goals in mind. For example, people with self-destructive habits and no desire to change tend to seek out only information that supports their habit and ignore other information either consciously or subconsciously. When seeking information, keep your goals in mind and you will find what you need to alter your perceptions that will bring you closer to success. Remember the proverb, “Seek and you shall find.”
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)