It has been said that “there is no reality, only perception”. There is significant truth to this claim.
Biologically, human beings are animals. We perceive the world primarily through our five senses and make sense of the world primarily through our perception of the input we receive through our senses. This is no different from any other animal on earth.
What makes us different is our superior brain power that allows us to manipulate the environment around us. This capability goes far beyond any other creature living on earth.
Discovering facts might lead us to believe we understand “reality” beyond any other living thing, but there is still much about the earth, the universe and even ourselves we still don’t understand.
This grey area is where perception makes all the difference. Something as simple as food can create a different “reality” for two different people. Food that might be trash to one person might be a delicacy to another, based on culture alone. The world you grow up in shapes your perception of all the input your five senses provide. This creates your own unique idea of “reality” that is specific only to you.
So why does this matter? It matters because your perception of the world will shape your reaction to the world. It will dictate your decisions, values, goals, priorities and behavior. The difference between a person who makes good decisions that improve their life compared to someone who makes bad decisions that are self-destructive can be as simple as their mindset.
Two people can experience the same event and have a different emotional reaction. If you observe the audience of any sad movie, you will notice some people cry while others don’t. The input from everyone’s five senses is identical. Yet the reactions are different. That’s because the perception is different.
Understanding the importance of perception is vital. Something as simple as learning more information about an event can completely change your perception of the event. For instance, if you learn of a person who kidnapped their neighbors’ dog, your first reaction would probably be very negative. But if you later learned that the neighbor was abusing the dog, you would perceive the situation differently. Same action. Different perception.
This is why wisdom is so important in daily life. Faulty perceptions of the world can lead to faulty reactions to the world, which lead to bad decisions.
Wisdom provides the big picture. When a person understands all (or most) of the factors in a situation, their perception becomes more accurate. Having accurate perception provides a supreme advantage in the world, as anyone who plays sports can confirm.