A black and white photo of a person, from the top of the chest upwards, wearing a dark face scarf mask, covering their face. Holding Onto False Perceptions

Holding Onto False Perceptions

Changing our Views

How many times have you been told something and you’ve taken it for granted that it is true? Your boss tells you how you should do something and you don’t question it, because it’s your boss. One of your parents told you something and you accept it to be true. We consider these people as more knowledgeable as us. Those perceptions are not always true.

Let me explain this through an example that Zig Ziglar used to tell – not word for word but the message of the tale is the same.

A guy gets sent to the butcher by his wife to get a joint for the Sunday lunch. When he gets back, his wife takes a look at the joint and exclaims, “You didn’t ask the butcher to cut the ends off. We always cut the ends off”. Her husband replies, “Why?” The wife replies, “Because my mother always cut the ends off”. Now the guy didn’t know this. It was the first time he went to get the joint. And the answer his wife gave him wasn’t enough for him. So he says, “Well, lets ask your mum”. So they call his mother-in-law and she replies, “Because my mother always cuts the end off”. So he decides to call grandma. When he speaks to grandma she says, “I cut the ends off because my roasting tin is too small”.

The moral of the story – don’t take anything for granted, unless it has a proven reason and you know that reason.

That last point may not make you popular with your workmates or your boss, but it will give you more of an insight as to why things happen. Just like when a child used to ask why (continuously), you may have to do the same to get down to the crux of the reason why certain things are done a certain way. Other times the reason why it is that way is obvious.

The Military example

The most common phrase I hear is, “It’s always been done that way”. The reason there hasn’t been a change is because people fear change, they don’t want to go against the flow or “rock the boat” or because there is a good reason why it hasn’t been changed. Like my dad used to say to me, “If it works, leave it. If it doesn’t or it can be done better, change it”.

Let me give you a more striking example. Until the turn of the 1900’s, battles used to be fought in lines, squares and other formations, for as long as anyone could remember. For example, in the Napoleonic wars, the armies would face each other in lines and fire volleys of rounds at each other. In other words, they would actually stand there hoping that they wouldn’t get shot. Made no sense but it was the way it was done. Until the practice of skirmishers came in. These would be groups of riflemen that would not be part of the line, but would attack the enemy from various positions.

Modern day warfare is still different. There are still ways that things are done and they have proven their purpose over time. Will it change? It always changes, because it needs to. It evolves.

If armies are willing to evolve why is it that others are not willing to? Fear of change and what that change will bring, never considering the benefits.

And what about you? You are a person with the ability to evolve to something more than you are now, but you don’t. Why? Fear.

What keeps those fears as strong as they are? The beliefs you have about the changes, your perceptions.

Your perceptions

How do you change your perceptions? You become more aware. You start to question if the thoughts you are having are grounded in fact, if they are grounded to reason and if they are helping you to move forward.

You question their validity. Where did this perception come from? Is it one that was given to me or is it one that I created for myself? Is it true? Can I confirm or deny it’s validity?

You might have heard two words going around at the moment. They are not new, they’ve just been mentioned more and more. One is neuroplasticity, the other neurogenesis. The first means that our brain is plastic. What it actually means is that it has now been found and confirmed that our brain creates new neurons and new pathways. It means that we can create new ideas and get rid of old ones, and that is reflected in the structure of our brain.

The other is neurogenesis. Our brain cells don’t die. We continuously make new brain cells. The old story was that once you reach a certain age your brain cells start to die and they are not replaced; Experts told us this and it was a lie. The worst part is that they believed it to be true. They didn’t have the equipment to test their ideas, it was a concept, a perception they held true. And it has now been blown out of the water of thought.

If those experts were wrong about something so crucial as our brain, what perceptions are you holding onto that are false beliefs, false perceptions?

Change the way you see things

Can you change your perceptions? Of course you can. I’ve just told you about neuroplasticity (have you checked it for yourself, have you looked it up on the information highway we call the internet? Try TED talks as well).

To change our perception we have to replace it with another one. You don’t just try to suppress it, push it down in your memories, because it will always exist. You have to replace it, because it is still there in your subconscious, where all your unconscious actions are controlled from.

We replace old ideas, thoughts and beliefs, our old perceptions, by finding out if they are true or not. That means that you have to put in the work. You look at your perception and you try to prove it and disprove it, and this is where it can be hard, because you may have to accept things you previously weren’t willing to accommodate. It will change your perception and more likely change your life.

For example, there may be someone that you are not willing to forgive, never mind letting go of that hate you have. But have you ever bothered to find out what that is actually doing to you, mentally and physically? You should.

You want to succeed in your career but for some reason things don’t go the way you want them to. Why? What is it that stops you? What are your beliefs about success? Is it related to money? Do you think that money is evil? Is money evil? Do you fear success? Do you fear being better than… who? What is success for you? Do you know? Have you written it down?

Do not let others tell you that you can or you can’t. You always can. It’s your perceptions, the things you believe in, hold on to that keep you were you are. You have to change them by changing the truth and the lies behind those ideas. You have to prove to yourself whether they are true or not. You have to do this, no-one else. You have to do it with your own eyes, ears and emotions. You have to see it, hear it and feel it.

As Neville said before science caught up with him, feeling is the secret.

But the biggest key to all this process is you. Do you really want to make that change? How much is fear holding you back, because you’re scared that you will change, your ego, the money you earn, your material possessions, your spiritual beliefs? Have you challenged any of them?

You must want to venture into these fields of the unknown. You’d be surprised what you’ll find.

Why do you have to look at both sides of the argument? Because your subconscious will be trying to prove itself right and keep that belief in place. It’s objective in it’s search – it seeks what it believes; what you believe. So you have to go where you have never gone before to create a change.

It’s not a matter of if, but when. It’s a matter of willingness and your why. It’s your life and not somebody else’s. So own it.

”All is as thinking makes it so”. The retort made to Monimus the Cynic is clear enough: but clear too is the value of his saying, if one takes the kernel of it, as far as it is true.
Marcus Aurelius

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.
William Blake

Photograph by: Wei Ding on Unsplash

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