I was making some plans yesterday for Debye’s and my 20th wedding anniversary, which is a week from today (on August 20th), and the idea of celebrating 20 on the 20th got me thinking about re-visiting my book 20/20 Vision: Changing Your Life by Changing the Way You See Things.
Suffice it to say that I personally need to take a little look at some of these basic principles about perception right now…sort of need a refresher course in "perception 101"…and I have the feeling that maybe some of you do, too. So from now until the 20th I want to share some excerpts from the book with you…
This is from the introduction…
You can, in fact, change your life by changing the way that you see things. It has been theorized that there is no such thing as reality, there is only perception – a premise that can be argued, ad infinitum, by philosophers and physicists, alike. Whether or not it is actually and completely true, the fact remains that your perception of things really does determine how you think, feel and function every single day of your life. It is a fact that God is, but it is also a fact that God is to you how you see that He is. The world around you is, but that world is to you how you see that it is. Life is what it is, but for you, your life is how you really see that it is.
The earth is round, but to the people of the ancient world it was flat, even after Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas on the other side of the globe. The false perception of the earth’s flatness did not change the fact that the earth is and always has been round, but the fact of its roundness did not change the world’s collective perception that it was flat. The reality and the perceived reality continued to coexist for another generation after Columbus. In the same way, there are things you believe about your world that are undeniably and universally true, and there are things you believe that are only true in your own mind.
You can determine your own happiness by learning how to properly view and discern the circumstances of your past and present. By learning how to see yourself correctly, you can become the person you’ve always really wanted to be or, better yet, you can reveal the best “you” that you already are. You have the ability to choose an attitude and vision for each day with the same confidence and ease that you have when choosing what to have for breakfast in the morning or what clothes to wear for the day. The more you are able to see how inner sight creates daily realities, the better skilled you will become in using it to your advantage.
Free your mind, open the eyes of your heart, and prepare to change your life for the better. You can be happy. You can succeed. You can stop second guessing your life-choices, living in regret, or blaming others. You can break all the limitations of your own mind and tap into an inner power that will enable you to do things that you never thought you could do before. And you can do it all by simply choosing to change your viewpoint and perception of the things pertaining to your life. As you begin to realize personal transformation, let these words take on new meaning for you: I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see!
FIRST SIGHT: HOW I SEE MYSELF
There we saw the giants . . . and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.
Consider these two statements: (1) You are what you see; and (2) Every person eventually becomes what he or she really believes himself or herself to be. Now, consider how these indisputable truths are interrelated. The concepts of seeing and believing are so completely connected to one another that no one can separate any part of his or her life from them. The constant cooperation of both of these actions continues to affect your entire world view, as well as your conscious and subconscious self-image. Your perception of the immediate world shapes your attitude toward it and ultimately creates the environment in which you live.
The way that you see yourself determines what you deeply believe about yourself and how you relate to others. You constantly communicate your vision and belief about yourself to those around you in innumerable ways. Every day, without knowing or understanding how they do it, the people who come into contact with you actually learn how to see you by perceiving, on a very profound level, how you see yourself. People respect you because you respect yourself. People love you because you love yourself. People follow leaders because they believe in them, and they believe in them because those leaders believe in themselves.
Whether you are aware of it or not, the quality of your life is being determined on a daily basis by your own core beliefs – the things that you really believe, foundationally. Your most basic existence is produced and manifested right out of your own unique belief system, as is the “you” that you project to the general public. The lifestyle you enjoy, the things you accomplish, the things you attract to yourself, as well as the people who enter and exit your life, are all being moved, motivated and managed on some level by what you honestly believe about yourself and by how you perceive your relationship to your world.
That powerful and dominant belief system (mindset, philosophy of life, world view) is basically just a collage of internal pictures that you have collected throughout your personal history. Some of these internal pictures are facsimiles of real things that you have seen externally, and others are images that have been painted on the canvas of your mind through thoughts, words and suggestions. There are pictures in this collage of yourself, and of the components of the world around you, some of which are actual and authentic, others of which are more smoke and mirrors than real images of a viable reality.
The fundamental convictions that you hold about your own identity, value, or worth as an individual, which are realistic but positive, are generally valid. But the beliefs that you maintain which produce negative inner pictures very probably result from your own self-imposed, internal optical illusions. Very few people in life ever really hold a completely accurate picture of themselves in their own minds. We tend to believe what others tell us about ourselves, either verbally or subliminally, and, therefore, live out a good part of our time using information that has been obtained by the observance of a wrong, mental self-portrait.
The shockingly emaciated young girl suffering from anorexia nervosa continues to starve herself because she is fixated on a completely fallacious picture of an overweight girl that she sees as being herself. No matter how many people tell her how thin she is, and despite her doctor’s stern admonition to gain some weight, she still refuses to eat because she can’t really see a reflection of her actual self when she looks in the mirror. She doesn’t see what everybody else sees because she is held emotionally captive by an internal vision of an incorrect picture. In many cases, the results of such dangerous illusions can prove to be fatal.
Perception is Everything
Two people observe the same glass of water. One sees the glass as half full, the other sees the glass as being half empty. Of course, this illustration has been overused to the point of becoming cliché, but if you think about it, it really is the perfect way to explain the concept of perception. The glass is half full, and it is half empty. Both realities exist simultaneously, but two different people see two completely different pictures of the exact same thing. They hold to opposing concepts because they have conflicting paradigms and, therefore, have different perceptions of the truth. The most remarkable thing is that neither person is wrong!
Moses sends twelve spies into Canaan with a mission to bring back a report about the conditions existing there. Ten of the spies see a picture of overwhelming impossibilities and bring back a negative report of a hopeless situation. But two of them, Joshua and Caleb, see something entirely different and bring back a completely alternative report, never refuting the validity of the report of the other ten. All twelve spies inspect the very same geographical area, and all twelve tell the truth about what they observe, but they have conflicting perceptions of the same reality. A simple matter of perception cost Israel forty years in the wilderness.
See and Say
Moses’ twelve spies were commissioned to see something and to say something – to translate the visual into the verbal, so that the others waiting back at the camp could unify themselves around a collective vision. This principle of seeing and saying is something that you practice on a regular basis, either intentionally or unintentionally, and it can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you use it. The combination of positive visualization and verbalization in your life can be a powerfully transformative force, if you are consistent in your practical application of it. You are what you see that you are. You are what you say that you are.
This book is called 20/20 VISION because it is based on 20 daily affirmations that you can make concerning how you see yourself, and another 20 daily affirmations concerning how you see everything else. Each affirmation has commentary that expounds on its meaning for your life, with a plan to help you observe things in a better light and to encourage you to say something good about what you see every day. Remember that you are creating vision (visualization), changing vision (paradigm shift) and discovering vision (perceptive insight) all at the same time. You can change your life by changing the way you see things.