I’ve mentioned perception before (http://201020k.com/the-2k11-247-cxxix-perception-is-in-the-eye-o); we often look at things the wrong way — without necessarily meaning to do so — and the world is a big place filled with lots of things. Even if it were possible to know everything — and fortunately, it’s not — the world is full of surprises. It’ll hit you with curveballs, it’ll catch you unguarded — it’s a random world out there.
I’ve definitely spoken on perception before, but let me drive the point home once more — a key reason why the world’s as messed up as it is is because too often we perceive things incorrectly.
Have you had arguments because someone only knows half of the story? Or got in trouble for something without understanding why the other person’s angry? Or maybe you’ve wrongly accused someone because your information all seemed to point in a certain direction, regardless of whether it was accurate?
Part of the problem is a plethora of perspectives!
Looking at things from the wrong perspective can have all sorts of results — from the comical…
- The first time I got in trouble for blasting rap tunes with swear words since all I’d heard before as the censored version
- The time where a crazy lady (and I do not use the term lightly) thought I was a scam artist trying to pull a fast one on my friend
- When girls would ask me if I were the guy from Save the Last Dance shortly after the movie come out (really should’ve milked that more…)
…to the tragic…
- People who get jailed wrongfully due to an incorrect interpretation of evidence
- People who get killed due to mistaken identity when killers make wrong assumptions and slay people who may have had nothing to do with the intended target (example: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2009/05/05/9353831-sun.html)
- Or even what’re billed as 25 of the worst mistakes in history, many of which stemming from jumping the gun, misaligned perceptions or simple stupidity (where the rest of us would view the decision they made as stupid): http://www.businessinsider.com/worst-mistakes-in-history-2011-4?op=1
So our perceptions and others should not be taken lightly, as they can have profound effects on our lives. We need to make sure we don’t jump to conclusions too quickly, as misinformation only makes everything more complicated. News media thrives off of information. Major decisions are driven by information. People live or die due to information — so imagine what could happen if the wrong actions are taken due to bad information?
Looking again at what I’ve mentioned about self-perception (http://bit.ly/obZsAH), the truth of the world is the sum of our individual perceptions. So we need to think. We need to be sure of what we say and understand the weight that our words may hold. For it’s not only your reputation to worry about when things go wrong — there are always ripples in the pond, and then the water’s unclear, it’s much harder to see past the surface. So keep that pebble in hand until you’re sure it’s time to lob it.
–Casey E. Palmer