Perception is reality, even if it's through a lens

Reality is what you make of it, so it’s important to consider the kind of perspective you take when you approach various aspects in your life. For example, we only see the leaves on a tree as being green because of the way that our eyes work. There is no real inherent “greenness” to each individual leaf, because other animals may perceive that exact same thing in a completely different way.

I remember when my family moved to a new house when I was about 10 years old. We were moving from a smaller house that had to be at least thirty years old to a larger house that had only been built the year before. Visiting the new property, I thought it was huge and I was very much looking forward to having my own room. These days, the exact same house doesn’t seem all that huge to me anymore. Did the house shrink? Obviously not. Only my perception of the house changed, so I get the impression that it is smaller. My perception created that new reality (for me).

Perhaps one of the most profound examples of this phenomenon is the self-fulfilling prophecy. Again, reality is what you make of it and your perspective going into a situation can very much influence its outcome. If you get dragged to a movie that you think you’re going to hate, there is a very good chance that you are going to focus on the negative aspects of the film and not the positive ones. As a result, you’re probably going to walk away hating the movie.

In like manner, if you feel that most of the material we learn in school isn’t useful in the real world, then you’ll likely shift your path in life to align with this perspective. The student who aspires to be a computer engineer will likely find very little value in reading Shakespeare’s plays. In an alternate reality, the material covered in your Shakespeare class can be very useful in other areas in your life. There is no single reality here. Whether or not you find value in reading these plays is completely up to you.

Your perception dictates your reality and this applies to how to view other people as well. When Susan Boyle took the stage, most people saw a disheveled country bumpkin hopped up on an unrealistic dream. We are later wowed by her performance, completely changing our perception of one Susan Boyle. Which perception is more accurate? She didn’t end up winning Britain’s Got Talent, but she did get to enjoy her fifteen minutes of fame.

The leaf on the tree is only green because you perceive it to be green. That is your reality. Realize that the reality of others may not be in line with yours.