For quite a while I’ve been advocating the notion that perception is “The King of Resources.”
More than time, energy, money, information, relationships, etc.
I’ve been looking for a good story to illustrate this topic, and here we have one.
The premise is that a billionaire named Glenn Stearns has just 90 days to build a million-dollar business. He only has 100 dollars to start with. He cannot use his previous contacts or network. He must start from scratch. He sleeps in his truck, etc.
For most $100 isn’t enough to get through the week, let alone to build a business from. They have a certain mental representation of what is entailed, and their abilities to enact such a plan. Most folks, hating to break routine or talk to other people find nothing more terrifying.
This gentleman conversely has as part of his identity that he is a rich man. He can do this. He’s started a business before. He knows how to connect with people, build relationships, etc. Because he’s done it before he has no doubt that he can do it again. This leads him to taking far more effective action than someone with a different set of beliefs orienting his perception.
If you’ve ever caught a ball, you have a degree of certainty that you can do it again. This is called a “Belief.”
Sometimes people believe they can do something that’s never been done. Much like Roger Bannister saw in his mind that he ran the 4 minute mile, even when trainers, doctors, and scientists said it was impossible.
For the mind cannot differentiate a real event from one vividly enough portrayed in the mind. This allows us to tap resources that otherwise aren’t available to us.
When I met Dan Gable in 2008 at Matt Furey’s “Get Tough” event he related that he saw himself winning championships in his basement a thousand times before he did on the mat.
Viktor Frankl relates this in extremes circumstances in his work “Man’s Search For Meaning.” Even in a Nazi Concentration Camp, those who perceived they could get through, and that their lives had a purpose tended to do so. The rest often weren’t as fortunate.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn commented much the same in the Gulag Archipelago relating the intense trials in the Soviet Camps.
In my study of the Psychological and Physiological impact of combat and killing, I found interesting reports from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. He related that people who never conceived they’d be hurt, or never imagined they’d have to shoot someone in war, or on police duty were often destroyed by the incident. Sometimes dying from wounds that a person cannot die from.
In contrast he spoke of people who had prepared for it rigorously dealt far better, often shrugging off typically fatal wounds and returning to regular life and duty without handicap.
In my own life, my grandfather who had been on the oxygen tank for quite a while, and had stage 4 cancer was enthusiastically making plans for what he would do in the coming year. The doctor related to him “Sir, there’s no need to make plans. You’ll be dead in a week.” He shut down. Shortly thereafter he couldn’t speak or hear. In less than a week he was gone.
These are all anecdotes, sure. But they plant seeds of possibility.
Our perception is our interpretation of sensory data. Every second a tremendous volume of data is presented to our vault of experience. This is our history and our genetic legacy. Ignoring most data that seems irrelevant we naturally focus on the details that seem most important and build a frame workout around those data points, won’t generalizing the less important portions to complete a picture.
This is why you might look at a cloud and see a house, or look at a rope in the woods and see a snake. Data is being computed constantly.
Many things can color this assessment.
If you just got into an argument you’ll find things that annoy you. If you’re looking for your friend with a green car to arrive suddenly you’ll recognize a sea of green cars that was invisible a moment before. If you worked out or did gratitude to start your day you’ll have a more positive and confident approach than if you heard the alarm, bitched, hit snooze three times, and threw your phone against the wall, breaking it.
For some folks, speaking on stage is their greatest love. For most, a fate worse than death.
There are others who want to be covered in the most cockroaches to feel important and brave. For some they would rather drown.
Many dream of owning a home, a car, having 2 weeks vacation a year, working a 9-5. Anything less and they feel inadequate.
A different crop considers that “The rat race” and doesn’t want to own property. Instead that want to travel about, camp out, and trade services for lodging on their journey. Even being straight up homeless seems like an adventure and chance to problem solve!
Some want to be single, most want a loving relationship.
If you are sick, or wounded, this is real, physical pain. Anything else that a person could either hate or enjoy is an illusion created by our perception. Whether you hate or enjoy cockroaches, this is a dream created by an amalgamation of experiences and behaviors.
Dream or not, perception is more valuable than any other resource, for with perception, no matter how scant your fare or rich your bounty it can be invisible or plentiful depending on the orientation of your interpretation.
Largely your perception is driven by what you do. The words you use.
For example, we hear the phrase “You made me mad.” Because the person is there, doing what we don’t want, we feel angry, people often use this phrase thus we perceive… believe that a person can do that.
In fact what made us angry is the perception, the belief, the feeling of certainty of how the person should behave. When our assessment of the world doesn’t line up we experience friction, our psychological structure shakes, we feel disappointed, but at a more obvious level, we get pissed off and blame the people who seem to be there because our frames of how things should be don’t match reality.
What state you begin and end your day in has a powerful impact on how your day will go because it primes your perception to view life through that lens. This is while the most powerful and successful people in the world make it a priority to bookend their day like a champion with rituals that will set them up for success.
Wim Hof rises with his Method each morning.
Tony Robbins jumps in an ice bath then does priming upon rising.
Robin Sharma runs his 20/20/20 ritual.
Jocko Willink has a difficult workout when he rises at 4:30.
Vishen Lakiani goes through his 6 Phase meditation.
The Dalai Lama begins with meditation completing death, impermanence and other things at 3:30am.
Napoleon Hill advocated focusing on your major definition purpose when rising and posing a question to the universe upon going to sleep.
Many people run systems like the Miracle Morning, or the 5 Minute Journal(like Tim Ferriss)
Taking control of your perception is one of the most powerful things that you can do for your life. You wouldn’t want to waste hours of your precious time each week. But how much time is wasted being frustrated, or rising with bad news from your phone, or setting yourself up for failure by partying late and rising with a hangover? Nor would you waste money and throw wads of cash out the window. So why would you leave the quality of your life, the quality of your emotions, your actions, and interactions with those you love up to chance?
In this message I encourage you to design a program that works for you to begin and end your day. It needn’t be too large. Just something that will give you momentum, or set you up in a powerful state for your day, or equip you to better face your challenges tomorrow.
To Your Strength and Mastery,