“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams
Take a minute to scan your surroundings. Are you in a familiar place or somewhere new? Stop reading this, and just look around you. Pick out an object, maybe something you hadn’t noticed before, and focus your attention on it. If you really focus, it’ll get brighter and more “real” than it was when it was just an unnoticed piece of the background noise of your life. Now, try to view your surroundings from the point of the object. Some people can do this with no effort, and for others, it takes some concentration. Depending on how adept you are at focusing your concentration, you may notice a slight shift in your perception – a weird jump in realty, where you are suddenly viewing the world from a different perspective.
Did it work? Whether you noticed anything or not, your perception did change, albeit for an instant. It’s important to be conscious of your perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create it for you.
Trick the Eye in French
Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you too see them. Artists do too.
You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique, which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception. Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun. But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can make for a very unfulfilling life.
Change Your Story, Change Your Perception, Change Your Life
We all get caught up in our stories. Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to suck.
Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living now, or was it mainly shaped by your parents, friends, spouse, school, or the media? If you don’t like the story your living, then change the perception. Envision how you’d write the next chapter of your story. Better yet, actually sit down and write it. Focus your perception on creating a new reality, one where you are in charge of the story. Take back the job as screenwriter and director, and stop just being an actor (unless you’re Rachel McAdams – I rather enjoy her acting).
Everything begins with a decision – decide now to be in charge of your own perception of reality. Because if you don’t, there are plenty of folks whose sole purpose in life is to craft that perception for you. Do you trust them to have your best interest in mind…?
Tony D. Clark writes, draws cartoons, designs software and websites, and spends a lot of time talking others into working from home, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest focuses on helping parents who want to do meaningful work from home and have more time for their families, and their dreams.