As promised, here are more nuggets of wisdom I drew from Ryan Holiday’s excellent book; “The Obstacle is the Way.”
One of the subjects Mr. Ryan takes a deep dive into is the power of “perception.”
Perception is how we interpret an event:
how we feel about it,
what we believe about it,
what it means to us,
and what we think will happen next because of it.
One way to look at it is this: an event is like a cupcake.
Our perception of the event is the frosting we slather over it..
The toppings and decorations are symbolic of our predictions of what we think will happen next as a result of this event.
Mr. Holiday makes the point in his book that the minute we decorate an event with our perceptions and predictions we lose our objectivity and become highly subjective and emotional about the event. We tie ourselves to future consequences that we BELIEVE are surely coming.
And let’s face it, our interpretive frosting and decorating often times looks more like this..
And one last visual..ever try to frost a cupcake that’s just come out of the oven?
How often do we rush to rash judgements that wind up taking weeks and months to deconstruct? We meet a rude person at our new job and conclude the entire company is rotten. We move to another state, it rains for four days straight and we decide the weather there is terrible. We get in an argument with our spouse and think there’s probably more of that coming and we need to divorce immediately. Our martini isn’t great, so we assume our dinner will stink.
Resist the urge to “frost hot cupcakes”..give the situation time to cool off. Try not to jump to premature conclusions- give yourself time to let things settle.
At the end of the day, we choose how we feel and respond- no one else can do this for us. This is our power .. the power of perception, and we need to wield it with care. This isn’t about simply ‘being positive’ either..this is about being patient, unemotional, objective and “ceaselessly creative” as we deal with events in our lives.