Perception is not Reality

By | November 11, 2010

Of course, the expression says the opposite.  However, I reject the expression.  If a tree falls in the forest, it does kill the rabbit it lands on and it does make a sound.  Reality is reality.  The truth is the truth.  However, future decisions are not based on historical reality, they are based on historical perception.  That’s the rub.

What is the point of being right or doing the right thing if you don’t get credit for it in future decisions.  Take the US mid-term elections.  I think, in reality, Obama did a great job as president.  However, the perception (of some) is that he didn’t.  People voted more on the perception than on the reality.  It seems unfair.  Why bother doing the right thing?

There are some people, not everyone, who believe that there is reward from the universe and within for doing right.  Karma, Kismet, heaven, God, whatever floats your boat, but the point is the same.  Regardless of perception, the truth has value.  I believe there is value in doing the right thing even if no one sees it.  That value doesn’t make it any less frustrating.  Being right and four dollars will buy you coffee.  In the end, we all love positive acknowledgment.

Would you be happier being loved for doing the wrong thing, or the reverse; be thought of as a loser, even though you did the right thing?

How many people have the courage to do the right thing?  To fight the good fight, even though you are hated and ridiculed for it.  I am afraid it is not as many as I would hope.  Years ago, I got into alot of arguments with people over the “right thing to do”.  It didn’t help me to be right.  The thing that did help was developing really good communication skills.  Understanding how to present a design, roll with the punches, take input, get people on your side, may the idea seem like their idea, spreading the credit around….These techniques are invaluable to get people to agree with you.

I admit that I still have a long way to go in development.  I think acknowledging the issue is the most important step.  Am I right?  Or do you just think that?

One thought on “Perception is not Reality

  1. Dan

    I always believed that if you do what you think is “the right thing” then no matter what happens, you will always be proud of that. It might end up bad, but at least there was that one things that was good. Of course, “the right thing” is the big issue. I think lying is wrong, always wrong, but telling the truth often gets me into more trouble that lying (or bending the truth). But I have accepted that negative consequence because it has the positive consequence that I can be trusted to tell the truth (even if I am the only one who believes that). If I could sum up my philosophy on this, it would be “the right thing” takes into account the big picture, while the wrong thing is often a short-term or selfish view. That is my reality and my perception. As for Obama, I have no idea if he did a good job, but I’m sure that I am disappointed with what I have seen (which is skewed by the media, complexity of government, my experiences, and countless other things that I don’t even know about.).

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