Monthly Archives: September 2016

Perception Defines Reality

Too many years ago to mention here I resigned from a position I held.  A senior member in the organisation made a rather public statement along the lines that I was a broken person incapable of dealing with the reality of life! Hmmm… seriously?  Yes, seriously.  In my young naivety I created a negative internal dialogue I would constantly repeat and rehearse, and thus live out subconsciously.  I, without being aware of it, embraced this as the reality of who I was and I started to believe this to be a true reflection of me.  I subconsciously believed that I was a dysfunctional member of society simply by being who I was.

People generally form a perception of who we are and, I believe, this is based on the perception we have of ourselves and thus the one we project.

So what impact does our internal self-perception have on our outward reality?  I believe that how we perceive ourselves internally influences how we project ourselves to others in society and how we ultimately function in society.  Chances are that if we are convinced, not necessarily at a conscious level, that we are a failure, we will act out accordingly and project that message to the rest of society.  Chances are that we will be perceived as a failure, be seen as such, and treated as such.  There’s an old saying that goes:  “Perception defines reality.”

There is a famous statement [attributed to Stephen R. Covey]:  “I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”  The circumstance was a negative statement, as misguided as it may have been, made about me.  My decision, conscious or otherwise, was to let that define my perception of who I was.  The end result was not pretty.  I walked around as a young-adult with a chip on my shoulder.  I was angry at the world blaming everyone for the challenging situations I had encountered.  This in turn led me to become a negative person to interact with.  I become a product of my decision.  The actual circumstance was irrelevant.  It was my decision that defined the outcome.  I allowed my immature decision define the reality of who I was.

As I continued to walk along my journey of life I pondered on the statement:  “I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”  I started to challenge the decisions I made due to challenging circumstances encountered.  I eventually realised that only I have the power to make new decisions.  Only I have the power to rewrite my internal scripts, to adjust the perceptions I have of myself.  By working on creating a much more positive self-perception, based on new decisions, I soon created a far more positive perception of who I am in the minds of those whom I encounter in life.  It is my experience that we live out, and project ourselves in society, in the same manner in which we perceive ourselves.

Now I challenge each decision I make for each circumstance I find myself in.  I challenge myself to make the best, and most positive decision possible –  to turn each situation into a learning opportunity and grow from it.  Only we have the power to make, or change, our decisions and define how we perceive ourselves.

Perception defines reality!

Yours in lifelong learning,



Chasing Perfection

Following on from my earlier blog post “So where’s the other 10%” I continue the narrative.  A great number of years passed between having been asked “So where’s the other 10%” and finally considering and embracing the concept of excellence instead.

After been asked “So where’s the other 10%” as a teenager I turned that question into an internal script telling myself that my best wasn’t good enough until it was 100%.  Overnight I went from a “just enough” person to one who has spent nearly a lifetime chasing their tail as they sought perfection in all that they did.  On many occasions I achieved perfect scores on my IT certification exams.  This would not satisfy my craving for perfection.  I would argue with myself the exam was too easy, that it didn’t test my ability or knowledge.  I would neglect the fact that many of these exams had a high first-time failure rate.  My internal dialogue driving me to seek perfection just would not be satisfied, no matter how hard I worked or what I accomplished.

So what was it exactly that I was chasing so hard?  That was the burning question I was challenged to answer in the first half of this year (2016).  I had to do a great deal of soul-searching to gain an understanding of my negative internal script that I had rehearsed and repeated for most of my adult life.  “So where’s the other 10%?”  I came to realise I had obtained that last 10%.  That last 10% does not mean I had achieved a perfect score.  Nor does it mean that 100% scores are the only ones that count.  It means that I have realised my potential and will continue to do so as I learn and grow.  Functioning in this imperfect world at one’s full potential is a minute-by-minute challenge.  Some days we will do better than others.  But we need to be cognisant of what our potential is in that moment, in that situation.  For me it comes down to excellence.  Again I raise the topic of excellence – see my previous blog post here.

My constant pursuit of perfection has, over time, been replaced with my pursuit of excellence.  My negative internal script has been rewritten and replaced with a far more positive one.  I now pursue being the best that I can possibly be in the moment, in each situation, doing whatever it is I am doing.  Do I always get it right?  Well no, how could I possibly get everything right.  But it’s not about getting it right every time.  It’s not about getting 100%.  It’s about approaching everything in life with excellence in mind. It’s about respecting myself in all things.

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle

Yours in lifelong learning,