Perspective is Reality

My Dear Reader,

It seems as though we have gotten away from the idea of universal truths.  That we now believe that perspective shapes reality, and not the other way around.  The saying “perspective is reality” may look nice on an office wall, or a poster quote in a public school, but if this phrase was actively hurting your life and business, would you want to find out why?

The idea behind the quote is that we all have our oddities and that they may seem normal to some because of our life experiences.  While I am not saying that experience doesn’t matter or that personal events can change ones actions in the future, the fact of the matter is that what is true is immovable.  In a basic sense, if you have 4 apples, you cannot possibly have more or less than 4.  You can prove this mathematically giving the equation 4+0=4.  Now, suppose someone came along and earnestly told you that you had 3 apples.  They would be verifiably false, because 4=0 does not equal 3.  If there was no such thing as a universal truth, or if perception truly was reality, you would both be right.  But we logically know that one of you has to be incorrect.  This is simple when dealing with apples and math, but what about events and history?  Can’t we interoperate events differently, and therefore walk away with a different idea of an event?

The answer to that is rather simple, there are events, and opinions.  For instance, if a kid is throwing a ball around the house and knocks over a priceless Ming vase and it breaks, that vase is broken.  That is the event and it is immoveable.  However, in this example, the child’s emotion kicks in because mom is coming home soon!  There is no way he’s getting blamed for this disaster, so he leaves the shattered vase on the floor and hides the ball he was playing with.  By the time mom opens the door, he’s concocted a story that blames his sister and the dog for breaking the historic vase.  Now whether or not his mother believes him is up to her, but it doesn’t change the fact that a $5,000 vase is now rubble.  That part of the story is what we would call the event.  This is the logical part of the story, what is and what happened.  However, the perspectives surrounding the event are emotionally driven and for most of us, drive our reactions to events.  The reason that the mothers son lied was so that he wouldn’t get in trouble for breaking the vase.  One could argue that his lie is simply his perspective, but it is impossible to believe the child on his perspective alone.  His motives and emotion are warping his point of view and distorting what is true.  In the end, not only is his mother mad at him for breaking the vase, but she’s also furious that he lied about it.

In business and in personal relationships, where the facts surrounding events are key in determining future action, emotion cannot be involved.  However it is this perspective, that an emotional way of dealing with events determines their validity, that ruins business and relationships.  This is because we combat emotion with more emotion which produces all of the anger and bitterness that can come from being scorned.  I believe that a great way to get around this horrible occurrence is to bring a customer or friend back to what has happened by refocusing them on the problem, not accusations.

We know that once an event occurs, there is no changing it, that event has occurred.  So no matter how horribly it affects us, instead of giving our opinion, we should state or restate the event.  So if, for instance, we are getting an objection in business, we should calmly restate the situation in a question form like this:

“[Mr./Mrs. Prospect], can we both agree that [insert event] is hurting the both of us?”

“[Prospect], this [event] seems pretty bad, doesn’t it?”

By doing this, we are taking away the immediate ability of the prospect to accuse us of causing the event or the outcomes of it.  It focuses their attention on solving the problem, not their negative emotions that may cloud their judgement.  In a world that wants us to be emotional, if we rise above that, I know that we can create wonders and have a great many friends.

To your creation and potential,

Kevin Prendiville