Perception Is Reality Meaning
Though the speed of life creates circumstances that are very real, its pressure is caused as much by perception and feeling as by fact. The way you feel about these pressures is a direct result of what you believe about your opportunities and the choices you make daily. As you live your life, you are constantly making value judgments, forming opinions, interpreting events, and making decisions about what you will and will not do. With respect to the results you get, the decisions you make about what you will or will not do are the most significant.
We all have a way in which we view the world, our role in that world, and the relationships we have with everybody in it. Called the belief window, it contains everything you believe to be true, false, correct, incorrect, appropriate, inappropriate, possible, and impossible. Two things are happening in your belief window:
- It is framing all of your views of people, places, and things, and creating the perceptions and feelings you have about everything.
- It is influencing the actions you take regarding those same people, places, and things.
Your belief window determines all of your choices and actions, and it allows information you consider important to enter your mind and be retained. It also blocks out what you do not consider important and screens information and circumstances you don't think you need. If you aren't aware of what you need, however, you will not recognize the importance of things that might be critical to your success. Your belief window could cause you to block certain pieces of information from further consideration, and you may miss some great opportunities as a result. That is why you must be very clear about what you really want and what you really need to achieve it.
The Things You Believe Impact Your Results
It takes great effort and discipline for personal success, and your belief window determines how effectively you are able to perform because it ultimately controls all of your choices and actions. Our belief window is shaped by the facts or ideas we accept as truth and our personal experience as it relates to those facts. The speed of life presents a constant, unending flow of information that contains a mixture of fact, truth, myth, rumor, and in some cases downright deception.
Your belief window doesn't always provide a wholly accurate view, however. This potentially results in significant errors in the way your mind filters the information that passes through it. What are the consequences of your belief window framing something incorrectly? What if your belief window causes you to take action or inaction based on something that just isn't true? How would this erroneous framing of an event, an idea, or a person impact your results? If your error in perception involves a significant principle necessary for achievement, it might stop you from taking an important step toward success, or it might even cause you to fail completely. Therefore, you need to have the ability to adjust your belief window when it impedes your success.
You started forming your belief window from the very first moment you began to interpret your surroundings. You were very young when you began this process, and you will continue to make adjustments to it for the rest of your life. As you grow older, however, you become less willing to adjust your belief window. The saying that it's hard to "teach an old dog new tricks" is true. As you mature, you finalize and fill in most of the foundational strategic principles you will accept in your life, and when that strategic framework is complete, those principles will dominate everything else in your belief window. It is extremely difficult to add anything new to your belief window that conflicts with one or more of your strategic principles, but there are instances when both should be altered to be more successful.
The Value of Changing Strategic Beliefs: A Case Study
One of my clients is a perfect example of how results can be accelerated by changing strategic beliefs. George Burke is a very successful entrepreneur who owns a relatively large commercial paint-contracting business in Atlanta, Georgia. His client list includes Target, Emory University, Georgia State University, Kaiser Permanente, and Days Inn, among others.
When I first met him several years ago, he was already successful by any standard you could apply. George had a great family and a great business, and he made a great living. George was very happy with his life and work, but he felt "maxed out" with respect to future opportunity. He had built his company around himself, and he believed he had to be personally involved in a long list of responsibilities to maintain its success. And because the things he did personally ate up all of his time, he believed he was out of options for future growth.
George did not believe he could go beyond where he was. He had a self-limiting belief about himself and his business. He believed he had hit the ceiling of success for his business and that was just the way it was. His self-limiting belief was that his growth potential was directly related to the availability of his personal time. He erroneously believed that he was the sole person capable of both selling and managing major projects, which was an enormous drain on his time and energy.
In working with George, I was able to help him replace that strategic belief with another idea. The new idea was that it was possible for him to duplicate himself in others by finding and training individuals he trusted, individuals who would sell and manage important contracts with just as much care and concern as he did personally. In the next eighteen months, George told me he duplicated himself four times in others, and the result has been that his business revenues doubled! This duplication freed up his time and permitted him to concentrate on new opportunities and think more strategically. His success grew exponentially simply because of changing one strategic belief.
Strategic vs. Tactical
The word "strategic" deals with "why" issues, whereas the word "tactical" deals with "how." Your belief window (the "why" behind your actions and choices) is therefore a set of strategic beliefs. When your strategic "why" beliefs become muddled, your tactical "how" solutions diminish. When your your strategic "why" issues are settled, the tactical "how" solutions become obvious. Therefore, the degree of clarity you have about your strategic beliefs enables you to focus and execute.
The speed of life is a 24/7 frontal assault on your belief window, and it causes confusion due to the sheer volume of information that confronts you daily. You can't possibly test or experience all the information that assaults you. Trying to get your mind around more than you can process puts you at risk of being distracted from the things you need to do that really matter. The speed of life confuses the way you view your future because you become unclear about what you believe the future has in store for you.
As a result, you are at risk to buy into self-limiting beliefs about what you can or should do. Achieving clarity about what you really want is the solution because knowing what you want helps settle and establish the strategic issues you face. If you are not clear about what you really want, however, your belief in your effort will not be powerful or compelling enough to sustain your efforts. Clarity about what you want is actually what empowers your ability to believe in what you are doing, because your belief in what you are doing is the engine of the actions you take. To find out more, you can check out Perception Is Reality Meaning.
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