Our perception is everything. How we interpret the world around us and our engagement with it greatly determines our lives in both quality and creation. Check out an Amazon review for almost any product and you’ll discover five star and one-star reviews—for the very same item! Listen to couples—happily married, on the brink of divorce and every state in between—and you’ll hear two different tales regarding the same relationship.
Technology is in the midst of creating an ever-evolving AR (Augmented Reality), where you can simulate life in an alternate world (i.e., bungee jumping in Costa Rica, skiing in Aspen, playing tennis at Wimbledon). The pandemic has caused us to gravitate to this screen-laden world where attendance is taken virtually or noted in the clever acronym, IRL (In Real Life). Our life lessons are growing more comprised of chats, texts, emojis and screenshares, where an icon is considered sufficient (albeit online) presence.
I’m not knocking the myriad of gifts that arrive as a by-product of our tech-savvy world. I’ll be the first to admit that I love knowing my lessons can be found easily on a universal learning platform that our school uses, lessons that I create and decide when to share with a convenient click of a button. Children with underlying health issues are no longer prevented from engaging in learning now that we offer a streamlined learning program; students can learn at their own pace, replaying a lesson for greater understanding, translating into their first language where necessary.
But there’s a greater reality that technology will never surpass or achieve: the ability of humans to alter their perceptions and by extension, create their own reality. As the late Dr. Wayne Dyer said (author of The Shift)
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
The other day, one of my 6th graders sounded palpably upset when I announced an assignment to read a few chapters independently that week. His icon glowed as he spoke:
“I feel so much pressure. My head hurts. This book is hard for me to enjoy.”
The boy is a voracious reader and extremely bright. His voice was tight with unshed tears. The stress he was feeling was his reality, his perceived reality.
I reminded him of how much he loved to read. I asked him what was different this time.
“I like to read at night, under a blanket with my favorite stuffed animal beside me.”
“Then that’s what you’ll do,” I said.
Oh, how he let out an audible sigh. Gone was the shaky, holding-back-tears in his voice. Gone was his perception that the world was closing in on him.
We are no different from my sweet 6th grader. We all possess the power to perceive the best and worst at every moment. My student had perceived me as “safe” to articulate his anxiety, which in turn, created an alternate reality for him.
Consider your own life and how you perceive it. If there’s an area you aren’t happy with, how might you alter your understanding of it? Each moment is a gift for you to interpret and manifest a different reality.