Perception is Reality

Just a quick little note here that has me thinking, perception is reality.

When I attended prep school in 2008-2009, the head of the school, Rich, told us this on the first day. There were about 60 of us there, between post graduates and high school students, and he sat us down on his ranch in South Jersey, and spoke those words and they have stuck with me ever since.

"Perception is Reality."

It's the truth, how you portray yourself is how you are received by others, and how you're received is often the reality of our image. Simple right? Rich made everyone who had longer hair get it cut (I was included in that,) players with braids, or dreadlocks had to chop them off for a cleaner cut image. His philosophy was, "if you look the part, you'll be the part," and college coaches will be more inclined to offer you that ever elusive scholarship. And to be fair to Rich, most of us got some kind of scholarship opportunity- maybe not the one most were there for, but they had an opportunity at a free education.

As I said, I bring this with me every day of my life, because perception is in fact reality. As an example, many of us struggle with confidence. I think that is completely normal in todays social media driven society. I will gladly put my hand up and say for a long time I struggled with confidence, dating back to the time I was 12 or so, up until the past year. We are constantly in competition with others, and think, "is this picture good enough to post," "how's my hair?" "Am I fit?" and the list goes on and on. I am here to tell you, that's just fine, because everyone feels that way. I am also here to tell you that we can fix that, too.

Essentially, I got over my confidence issues thanks to Carlie. Carlie has such an understanding and outlook on life that is nothing short of inspiring. She sees the good in people, regardless of what is done to her, she wants the best for everyone. It was this perspective, that changed the way I saw the world.

When I first got back to Australia in 2018, I struggled with confidence. I came back to a league where I previously played well, I was one of the more impactful imports and knew I would be fine playing here again. Upon my arrival, I found someone who used to be apart of the club, had been saying it was a poor decision to sign me because I wasn't that good. I remember how internally this rocked me and really shook my confidence. For once, I thought I no longer had to prove my value because I already had, but nonetheless, that chip on my shoulder remained. The self doubt began to creep back in, the uncertainty began to come back, the negative thoughts had returned.

I remember I felt the need to prove everyone who felt that way wrong, because at the end of the day, that's what drove me most of my career. When I told Carlie about this, she was shocked both at the statement but more so at the effect it had on me. She couldn't believe I struggled with confidence issues. She said that I seemed so composed all the time, that I always seemed so sure of myself (I promise that couldn't be further from the truth.) This made me think back to my first year at Stony Brook. At the end of the first year, I began to meet more people around campus, and my roommate and I spoke with some of the other athletes that lived in our building and after about 30 minutes with them, one looks at me and says, "To be honest we all thought you were an asshole, because you never talk to anyone but you're alright." This would be one of the times that perception is reality backfires, but I digress.

I reflected on this with Carlie, and I thought back to everything I had been through up until that point. I remember when my mom passed away, everyone told me how strong I was, and how well I was handling the situation. That wasn't the case at all, in fact I was struggling mightily with alcohol abuse, to the point I thought I needed to seek help. I could remember my first year in Denmark, when people would say it looks like I'm loving my life, again it couldn't be further from the truth. But today's society doesn't see what is underneath, we only bother to look at the onion, not to peel a single layer back, much less all of the layers to find out who each other really are.

As I have spoken about in previous posts, I am very spiritual and I believe in the powers of the universe so to speak. I believe that you can completely create the reality you want with the right mindset. It's difficult, but as my mom always used to say, nothing good ever comes easy. Well a perceived reality, essentially becomes our reality doesn't it? For instance, if you are feeling under confident, but you put out a confident front, a truly confident front not over the top compensation (but that's another discussion,) and people around you perceive it as that way, then doesn't that make you confident?

In a sense, we are living in a world of "fake it until you make it" but we can create the reality of our dreams. Yes it takes a lot of work, and a lot of true soul searching, but we can genuinely create whatever we want in this world. The mind is a muscle, just like your biceps. If you train either of them enough, they become stronger. If you stopped lifting weights every time you got a little tired, or things got a little difficult, you wouldn't get very fit. The same goes for your mind. So if we continue to use confidence as the example, then if you continuously strive to be confident, and put an aura of confidence out there, you will eventually become more confident.

Whatever it is that you may be feeling insecure about emotionally, always remember, perception is reality. Go ahead and create the image and life that you want, because if you give off that image, people will eventually take to it. Be who you are fearlessly, and live the life you want to live.

Always remember, perception is reality.