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Perception, are you seeing what others see?

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I often speak to my clients about how we all perceive the world in our own ways. There is a phrase that states "The Map is not the territory". What is seeks to express is that we all see things in our own maps and so even though you may be right next to someone your view of the world will be completely different.

When I try to express this to people I do like to see if I can come up with examples because they just make things easier to see and explain.

Something happened to me that was such a good example I have already started using it and now I really want to share it...

It was a wonderful sunny Sunday afternoon and I was out for a bike ride with my 11 year old. We normally cycle along the cycle paths to the local lake where we can enjoy an ice cream. I see the ice cream as a treat and also a bribe to get a boy away from games consoles! As we cycled along the path by the river we passed a man out with his partner on their bikes. I would guess that he was probably in his late twenties and she was the same. She was on a bike fairly similar to the ones that we all see, basket on the front and the lower bit in the middle that is easier to swing your leg over.

The young man however was on a bike that could only be described as a freewheeling version of a Harley Davidson. It had huge horn shaped handlebars and his arms were way up in the air as he held on to them. It reminded me of the old Rayleigh Chopper, I myself had a Chipper..but that's another story!

As we passed him and both our heads turned to look, the first thought through my mind was "What does he look like? He is far too old to be riding a bike like that. He looks ridiculous"

At exactly the same time as these thoughts were flitting through my head my son exclaimed...

"That is the coolest bike I have ever seen!"

It stopped me in my tracks. Well, my mind if not the bike. I realised that I was doing exactly what I tell clients not to do. I was judging and making my own version of the map the real thing when of course it wasn't at all. In fact, perhaps my son was correct and it was the coolest bike around!

I smiled as we cycled on and as we bought our ice creams I knew that I had been taught another lesson in open minded thinking by an eleven year old.

Be open to understanding that the way you see things is not the same way that everyone else sees them.

When you say "I know what they will do" or "I know what they are thinking" perhaps you don't.

In fact your way may not be correct! There may be a better way to see the things that happen in your life.

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