The perils of false perceptions – Part 1
Prime the pump
December 5, 2023
The perils of false perceptions – Part 1

I usually don’t beseech people to read and share my articles, but I am making an exception and ask you please to indulge me. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing on the dangers of false perceptions. I will use personal experiences and stories to paint a picture that I hope will accompany you throughout all the changes scenes of your lives.

Several years ago, a recently separated direct report from a company I worked for, threatened to kill me. The threats were repeated and so, it was suggested that I reported the matter to the Police. On a particular day, I was invited to the CID department to be present when the person was being interviewed. As I sat and listened, I was bewildered. In summary, the threats were motivated by pent-up frustrations inspired by a lot of false perceptions.

Over a decade has elapsed since that incident. However, the scene played out on that dreadful Thursday afternoon and the days that followed illuminated the dangers of false or projected perspectives. Today, I invite you to journey with me as we lay the foundation to begin to examine the dangers of thoughts based on rumours, personal perceptions, and appearances and how, when they are shared and acted on, are impacting our lives, relationships, workplaces – the world.

A couple days ago someone sent me the link to a WE Fm Talk to Me! Program. I perceived that the link for that particular program was sent to me because the sender knew I could have related to the topic being discussed. The hosts of the program were discussing the content of one of Prime the Pump’s articles. This exchange happened between the sender and me the recipient. The hosts were in no way involved in the exchange or even knew about it. I clicked on the link, listened to the program, and was pleased to hear that many people across various sectors could have related with the content of the article.
When someone forwards you information, the basis is, the sender either sees you in the content or thinks that you can relate to the content. It has absolutely nothing to do with the creator of the content.

Usually, when the receiver analyses the content and finds it relatable, if it is positive, he/she consumes it. If it is negative, he/she is likely to act impulsively. If the receiver cannot relate to the content, he/she either ignores it or ask the sender why it was sent to them. None of this has anything to do with the creator of the content.

What usually happens is, Tim comes across a content that he thinks, depicts what he knows of Tom. Tim forwards the information to Tom and persuades Tom that Sue, the creator of the content must have directed it to Tom. Tom, without thinking logically, makes a reckless decision that reflects poorly on him.
Comedian George Carlin, the late said: “Some see the glass half full. Some see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.”

The point is, if 10 people look at the same picture or read the same content, each of them will get from it, what they were looking for or what they need to support the conclusion they have already made. Humans are inclined to make decisions based on perceptions but that is dangerous, especially when business and relationships are impacted. Our thoughts and feelings are usually wrong, therefore, when you are presented with information, make a concerted effort to unearth what is factual from what is perception. This is only possible when you approach the situation objectively, leaving your assumptions and perceptions behind.

I want to leave you with a story to ponder until we meet again next week… A story is told of three blind men and an elephant. The men had never seen an elephant but were asked to describe the elephant by touching it. One blind man touched the tail of the elephant and perceived it was a rope. Another blind man touched the trunk of the elephant and perceived it was a snake. The other blind man touched the ear of the elephant and perceived it was a fan. The morale of this story is that human perception is limited. We cannot reply on our sense of judgement, and we certainly cannot be making impulsive decisions that erode trust and ruin relationships based on the perceptions that someone projects unto us. Remember, what you think you know, and what someone else perceives they know is often far from the absolute truth.

Join us next week as we examine the three aspects of perception.