I used to have a notice on the wall in my office which read: Perception is Truth.
It helped my team focus on the fact that how they are perceived by our customers, (efficient, knowledgeable, professional and so on), will implant in the customers' mind a positive image of the whole team and organisation.
It also signified that there was a notice on my wall and if you have perceived it then it is in fact there.
And that's the problem with perception.
What you see, or imagine you have seen, is implanted in your mind as something that exists or has happened.
The same applies with sounds. You may have heard something, a conversation in a pub or on the bus, or half-heard it, and then it plays on your mind as to whether you heard and understood it correctly or not. Especially if what you have seen or heard is so astounding and "out-of-this-world" that it challenges your own beliefs and realities.
Let's take this Blog as an example. I've been writing it for some years now and I've had many readers come and go over the years. I'm grateful to the loyal ones who continue to visit me and support my writings. But then I ask you. Do you believe everything you read here?
At the end of the day, who are you going to believe? Your common sense or me?
The other day I checked something or other on Google and it said "This is a falsehood invented by Victor S E Moubarak on his Blog". Talk about my own words coming back to bite me in the backside!
And that's the problem with perceptions. People see something and it is implanted in their minds.
The advertising industry and the fashion and beauty industry have been capitalising on perception for years. They tell you what is glamourous, fashionable, beautiful and something to aspire to.
Many a photo has been touched and re-touched to smooth away any wrinkles or body fat which should not be there in real life.
And society copies what they perceive as the norm. Whenever people describe themselves in Dating or Match-Making websites they often gloss over the unflattering truth and describe themselves better than they really are.
As a young man I sent a dating agency one of my real life photos (untouched and not changed in any way). They returned it with a note saying: "We're not that desperate!"
Eventually I managed to get a date with a young lady through another agency. When I met the lady in question she said I did not look like the photo on the dating website. She said the photo looked as if it had been drawn by Picasso, and added, "I thought you had a cricked neck. And why in the photo do you have an ear on your forehead?"
I told her that as a fan of Star Trek this was the Final Front Ear!
She then commented that I was much shorter than I had claimed on the website. I replied that I was not that short really, but I was still far away.
It was a question of perception.
She left without even offering to pay for half of the meal we had shared together. A hamburger and a bun can be quite expensive you know!
So you see, "Perception is Truth". She had read something about me on the dating website and I was not as described in real life. Perhaps it was my fault for dating her at a badly lit restaurant ... in a back alley somewhere ... in the poor side of town.
Mind you, she was no picture of beauty herself. In fact she was so ugly that I guess Peeping Toms would ring her door bell and tell her to draw the curtains shut.
And that's perception, be it in a badly lit fast food outlet or in the bright light of day.
How about you? How do your family and friends perceive you?
More important. How does God perceive you? You can't fool Him you know.