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Everything Is A Perception


Everything is a perception. Our experience of life is not the way things happen outside us. It’s the way we “Perceive” the way things happen around us.

No matter how objective we try to be, it is through our brain’s structure that we perceive the world. There are no “absolutes.” Our mind “constructs” everything. We create narratives about our experiences based on assumptions our mind makes.

I have a mental model for how our mind works, which looks like this.

There is no objective reality. Everything operates in the realm of perception based on our beliefs and assumptions.

Why is it important to confront this fact?

Because, often in our lives, these assumptions and beliefs hold us back from realizing our potential. They make our issues and challenges look bigger than they are. And we are not even aware of these limiting beliefs we may have.

We can illustrate this through this interesting mental game.

The Nine Dot Puzzle:

If you have not seen this puzzle before, take a pause and try and solve it on your own before proceeding further. 

Take a piece of paper. Draw nine dots the way it is shown below.

Now try joining all the nine dots with four straight lines without lifting the pen from the paper.

Were you able to solve it, or did you get stuck with options like this?

This puzzle gives a peek into something unique about our human mind. Whatever it sees and perceives through the senses, it tries to categorize the information into some form of model or narrative to perceive it.

In the case of the nine dots, our mind instantly classifies the nine dots as a two-dimensional square. A box with a dot in each of the four corners, even though there is no real box. Additionally, we naturally create (using our system one mind as Daniel Kahneman so vividly explains in his book Thinking Fast and Slow) a narrative from the same set of instructions that reads like this.

“Join the nine dots with four straight lines, without lifting the pen from the paper, within the square formed by the outer dots.” The puzzle does not place any limitation on going into the space beyond the nine does but our mind constructs this limitation based on an assumption.

Unfortunately, the puzzle does not get solved this way.

The Solution:

The breakthrough happens when we go beyond the limiting confines of four corner dots that create the illusion of a square within which there is no solution. The solution comes when we create a new possibility by extending the lines beyond the corner dots into space beyond.

Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in our life is entirely based on assumptions made within a frame of reference that never fully represents reality. What we think of as an unsolvable or intractable issue is just a point of view. We just have to enlarge the view or create another frame around the data, and we will see solutions and new opportunities manifesting.

It’s eventually down to our perception, whether we see the possibility or the limitation. Our perception is always colored by a network of hidden assumptions, confining us to the invisible boxes and boundaries we create for ourselves, as the nine dox puzzle illustrates.

If we learn to notice and distinguish these stories, we will break through the barriers of the “Box”, and start pushing at new possibilities.

Recognize this fact, and you will give yourself the power to deal with any sort of challenge life can throw at you.

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