Perception is All

There is reality (whatever that is) and there is perception. Furthermore the two are often not the same for most of us. The best example of which is, of course, a belief in supernatural beings; something that, it would appear that millions hold to. Now, not only do I not believe in such beings but, to quote a famous 18th century French scholar, I actually “have no need for that hypothesis” with the emphasis on the last word.

The point about perception is that it’s how we, individually, see things; something that is crucial to our actions. But what if our perceptions are wrong? After all, many of those who do believe in a god or gods, also believe in an afterlife which is better than this one. Furthermore, on that basis, they live a life that is, probably, not as good as it could otherwise have been.

Now, I don’t know about you but I don’t need any such beliefs to make me behave in a way that I think is right. That, I know, comes from my Aunt Doreen who used to tell me that I should always do what I believed to be the right thing and that that, in itself, was the reward. That and the love and care she provided were my bedrock and have determined my actions ever since. So, what’s this got to do with anything?

Now anyone who knows me knows that I can talk. After all, this was the 11 year old who was caned on the first day at Grammar School for talking during lunch (not allowed) and, one of whose family, described him as having been “vaccinated with a gramophone needle”. Well, I’ve been plugging away for three years now to build a career in public speaking. Moreover, I know that I’m a good speaker as, in my work as a charity Director, I’ve always been a good spokesperson. Yet without, what one of my friends called, that “charity cloak” that I wore. I found that talking about my own life, while extremely enjoyable, wasn’t as easy as I’d expected. On stage, my mind had a tendency to go blank.

Well, last night, I had a 20 minute showcase gig at the Professional Speaking Association in Reading and the audience reaction may well have made even me believe that, at last, it is coming together. That person who usually walks on stage wondering who the heck it is who’s just been introduced is starting to realise that people like listening to him instead of trying to shut him up. And, as I write that particular phrase, I realise what the problem may have been all along and, thus, my perception has changed. So, perception may not be all.  However, it surely is crucial.

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