The Way We See Things

We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.

                                                 Anais Nin



The way we see things is the way WE see things; it may not be the way things are.

One of my favorite books, Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz, makes this point about perception.

She says the major reason we can get things wrong is that our perception of reality is always our interpretation of reality; this implies wiggle room.



I realize that this wiggle room is what I have been writing about for years. What we observe (our perception) is always subjective (a mental interpretation). Believing is seeing. Whenever there is belief and interpretation, there is room for error. The key point is that the way we see things determines the way we do things (our behavior).



Here is what we now know about the way we see things:

·      What we see is not all there is.

·      We see only what we pay attention to.

·      What we see is our interpretation of what is.

·      The way we see things is the way we do things.



To downsize this wiggle room and reduce the chance of error, first requires you to acknowledge it. Then you need to expand the way you see things (your perception). To do so, ask yourself: What am I not seeing? What am I not paying attention to? Is my interpretation biased? How is my memory, or lack of it, interfering? What does my behavior (the way I do things) tell me about my perception (the way I see things)?


We tend to see more through our thoughts and opinions

than through our eyes.    John Kabat-Zinn





This entry was posted in Beliefs. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gene unger says:

    Perception is reality. Reality is perceptions. Behavior is led by perceptions. All are limited by the quality of our perceptions. Feedback perceptions provide the opportunity to adjust our perceptions. No adjusting of reality just our behaviors . Life is hard ,then gets harder. Wiggle, wiggle wiggle.

  2. I’m not sure how I fell on your blog but I would like to refer to it in my blog: The idea of perception you raise here is vital for me and for my work. When we deal with people from different countries/cultures we can only connect if we are aware of our own perceptions – that reality differs for each of us and that that difference is OK. I will mention your blog in mine if that is ok with you. Diane

  3. Robert Leon says:

    Partner, I still feel the same. I just do not see it as a topic worthy of your time. Your quotes are always interesting and pertinent. If you say you are the audience you are writing for then I can certainly accept that. Please keep writing, though. I do like to see what you are thinking.

    Sent from my iPad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.