You should! Your perception creates your view of reality. Your perception is what forges your natural strengths and determines how you show up in the world. It’s what drives your relationships, influencing who the people are you enjoy and the ones you can’t stand!
Studying the link between perception, natural strengths, and behavior is the cornerstone of the work Gary and I do. That’s why we created Perceptual Style Theory over 30 years ago.
The way perception works is really fascinating.
Perception a complex process your brain uses to create meaning by contextualizing the input from your five senses, your innate biases, and your life experiences. And this process happens moment by moment, in the blink of an eye!
The process is the same for everyone, but the outcomes can be very different. Let’s look at the three “steps” of perception in a bit more detail to highlight how those differences happen:
Step 1 – your five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell send signals to your brain, and your brain combines them into a contextual message.
Step 2 – your innate biases kick in to create meaning from the data that your senses received. Innate biases are hard-wired in our brains. The type of biases we are talking about have to do with behaviors, not beliefs. Innate biases are our brain’s way of helping us instantaneously decide what’s important, what deserves our attention, what takes priority. They are shortcuts our brain uses to quickly make judgments and decisions on the information received from our senses.
Innate biases are unique to your Perceptual Style. They are in alignment with how you make meaning of the world. You literally create context from the input of your senses with your innate biases. That context provides you with a starting point for action.
Innate bias is a gift. Rather than being born with a blank slate for a brain, we each have predispositions that jump-start our understanding and allow us to take action.
Perception doesn’t stop with input from your senses and filtering by your innate biases. There’s one more step.
Step 3 – life experience plays a critical part in the process of perception because it adds validation. Our brain takes in the information from our senses, filters it with the context of our innate biases, and then checks the perception against what we’ve known to be true for ourselves in the past.
If we’ve had similar experiences before, it may flavor our perception of the current moment. If nothing in our memory is relevant, then our brain takes note of the current perception and stores it to build on later.
Perception is fascinating, as it both grows and solidifies over time. It solidifies through repetition. It grows as you gain new life experiences and awareness. The more solidified your perception becomes, the more you will believe that the way you see the world is the only and correct way.
The more open you are to new life experiences and points of view different from your own, the more your perception will grow.
It’s your choice based on how much emphasis you put on the life experience validation. You can choose to be “set in your ways” or to be open to new options (or a combination of those two extremes). The more open you are to understanding perceptual views that are different from your own, the more you will be open to accepting differences between you and others in your life.
Perception defines your view of reality. It helps you make meaning of the world around you. That’s pretty profound.
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