Archive for the ‘Perception’ Tag

Finding Good   1 comment

One of the things that I think is lacking in our world is the acknowledgement of good.  Occasionally, someone will share a story of the good actions of someone or a group.  However, most people seem inclined to spend their time identifying the bad in people, groups, and situations.  Many individuals go to great lengths to find something bad but will not expend the same level of energy trying to find something good.  This may not be new to norms of society but recently I have felt overwhelmed by the amount of negative energy being spent pointing out the bad in people and situations.

As I have tried to understand this trend in myself and others, I can identify a lot of reasons which this may be true.  I think that in part this trend is due to a perceived need to raise one’s self above others.  I also think that it appears a lot easier to identify the bad than it does the good.  Some of this trend may be due in part to the easiness which we have in finding fault in ourselves which I addressed a little in my post from earlier this week, Accepting Yourself.

Whatever the reasons, I would like to challenge myself and you to fight this trend.  I would like each of us to try for twenty-four hours to name as many good aspects of people and events as possible.  Then stretch that attempt to three days.  Then take it one more step to one week.  How might this change our perspective on life?  How might this change our attitude toward others?  How might this change our mood?

Let me know what you discover.  Please stay posted to see what I discover.  I will share my discoveries in this blog.

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Posted October 16, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Christian Living, Leadership, Life, Self

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Simple vs. Complex   Leave a comment

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I am sometimes amazed how individuals can make some situations so complex when they do not need to be.  It is true that when you are dealing with people who come to situations from different angles, there can be an increasing complexion which develops.  However, not all situations have to be that complicated.

I was part of a discussion recently that brought this to light for me.  The discussion centered around faith and what is expected of followers of Jesus Christ.  It became clear that way too often, we have a tendency to create a long list of expectations for believers.  However, when you study the whole of Scripture, it becomes very clear to me that there is only one choice that is demanded of followers of Christ…..  Choosing to believe in Jesus Christ.  All other choices and actions are in a response to what Jesus has done for us but does not have a bearing on whether we will spend eternity in the presence of God or in the absence of God.

While this discussion centered around faith, I think that the important lesson that was clear to me is applicable in almost every aspect of our lives.  We need to truly examine a situation and determine if it is really as complex as initially thought or is there a simple choice/decision that needs to be made which will handle the situation.  Leaders need to assist the groups that they led with reducing the complexity where possible and deal with the real issue at hand.

So the next time that I encounter something which I find to be very complex, I am going to strive to take a step back to determine if I am creating a complexity or if there may be just a simple aspect with which I need to deal.

A New Thing   1 comment

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“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

(Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

After a conversation that I was a part of yesterday, this passage has been echoing in my mind.  I am working with a group which is charged with the task of determining where the future of a larger body within an organization may be going.  We have had a multitude of discussions and there are some recurring trains of thought.  The group is confident that the future means there needs to be a radical change from the past in the structure and the focus of the larger body.  So this is why the passage from Isaiah keeps coming to my mind.

I think that there are some major points found in this one verse which speak to me today and should probably speak to many Christians.  The passage begins by God declaring to a group of people who are stuck in exile that something new is taking place.  God is doing something new.  This is the action of God and not of some human mind.  God has decided to do something new and it is going to happen.  For me, this reminds me of two important truths….. I am not in charge and it is futile to resist if God is the one acting.

The second point that has caught my attention is in regards to timing.  God says “NOW (my emphasis) it springs up;” this is not some future event but what is happening right now.  God’s timing most often is not our own.  In fact, there are many occurrences when God’s timing definitely does not align with mine.  However, since God is control, God gets to determine the timing.

The third point is found in the very first word of the verse and in the second half of the second sentence.  The verse begins with “See” and the second half of the sentence states, “do you not perceive it?”  This led me to understand that God intends me to take notice of what God is doing.  Then I am troubled by the question God asks regarding my perception.  I wonder why I and others struggle to see what God is doing.  I think that if we are being honest, the major reason that we do not perceive God’s actions is because we do not want to see them.  If we see them, then we have to respond to them by either accepting or rejecting them.  If my statement earlier that resistance is futile is correct, then the only option available to us is to accept God’s actions.  If God’s actions require us to change, or to do away with past ways, or any other uncomfortable response, we try to bury our heads in the sand and ignore that God is doing something new.

The remainder of the verse tells us the reason for God’s new direction.  God can easily see when we are stuck in the wilderness.  God knows that we become thirsty and our lives dry up.  So in these new actions of God, God is trying to provide for us relief.  By doing something new, God leads us out of the wilderness by showing us the way and provides the streams that will quench our thirst.  It is clear to me that many of us, and the organizations of which we are members, are definitely in the wilderness.  This portion of the verse reminds me that there is hope and possibility.  God has already begun something new which will get us out of the wilderness and provide a cool drink for our lives.

So the challenge to me and probably many of you is to look and see what is this new thing God is doing and calling us to take notice.  Then I must trust and follow down the path that God is providing in the wilderness by this new thing.

Perception versus Reality   1 comment

One of the most difficult challenges that can exist for leaders and organizations is the struggle between perception and reality.  Sometimes

English: Object of perception in psychology

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perceptions are accurate and align with reality.  Frequently this is not the case and perceptions are not close to reality.  Humans have a tendency to take a small bit of information and extrapolate  from that small amount what they perceive to be the whole.  This is when many times perception and reality become misaligned.


When this occurs, the challenge for the leaders of the group is to sort out between what are accurate perceptions and knowledge, and what is solely perception without a basis of facts.  Why this is so important is because the approach to dealing with the situation is different if you are dealing solely with perceptions or if you are dealing with realities.  If unsubstantiated perceptions exist, the leader must devote time and energy to providing information and knowledge to help others adjust their perceptions.  If there is a situation based on realities then there needs to be adjustments by the leaders to address the situation.


Perceptions can be one of the most difficult things to adjust.  Many times when accurate information is shared with individuals, they may still be reluctant to adjust their perceptions.  The longer a perception exists, the harder it is to adjust.  In addition to the length of time a perception has existed, there are many other factors that influence the perception.  Some of these can include an individual’s experiences in the past, the personalities involved, the impact that an adjusting of the perception will have on the person, and the willingness of the person to accept the new information being presented.


Throughout time people have struggled with this challenge of perception versus reality.  One prime example was when most of humanity perceived the earth to be flat.  It took a very long time and the presenting of a lot of information before people would adjust their perceptions that the earth was round.  Or what about the debate regarding the earth revolving around the sun or the sun revolving around the earth.  People were kicked out of the church during these battles of perception versus reality.


The battle between these to aspects of life will not go away.  Leaders and organizations will continually have to engage in this conflict.  So leaders must continually work on providing information that will help people for


accurate perceptions.


Limits   2 comments


Fence (Photo credit: Mariia Kravtsova I EamArt)

What limits me?  Today, this is a question that is rattling around in my mind.  I have been looking at a passage from the Bible this week that talks about our freedom in Christ.  (See Colossians 2:6-15)  This has caused me to consider what I have allowed to limit my freedom.  Another way of considering this might be, what holds me back?

I think lots of times societal pressures, peer pressure, and religious pressure limit us from becoming who we have the potential to be. Perceptions and understandings have a huge impact on shaping who a person becomes and how the individual lives life.  Sometimes those perceptions and understandings are placed upon the person by others, i.e., society, friends, colleagues, family, religious leaders, and sometimes those are placed upon the person by him or herself.

The stumbling block in all this, as I see it, is that perceptions and understandings can be wrong.  We are all born with a very basic understanding of right and wrong which is the basis for our interpretation of life.  People can usually agree that murder is wrong. People often concur that stealing is wrong.  However, when we get beyond the basic right and wrongs of life, all the rest depends on interpretation and understandings.  The challenge is that those interpretations and understandings change over time.

So all of this brings me back to the question of what limits am I placing on myself or allowing others to place upon me.  Limits are a necessary part of life because they help me to stay within reasonable bounds.  However, if the limits that are in my life are based on outdated or inaccurate perceptions and understandings, then I need to be very clear about whether I should retain those limits in my life.

My question for you today is what is limiting you?  Should you continue you to allow it to limit you?  These are questions I know I will wrestle with as well.

Breaking Limitations   2 comments

Spy007au bungee jumping off the Zambezi Bridge...

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Recently in my reading, I have read stories of people doing amazing and inventive things.  As I read, I am intrigued regarding what led them to head in those directions and how they were able to achieve success.  One of the reoccurring themes that comes to me as I read these stories is that the people involved have chosen to think beyond the structures and the norms that are in place around them.  They have chosen to break through the perceived limitations and that has given them the freedom to go in directions and take actions that were not previously in their scope of thinking.

A key to breaking through limitations for me is realizing that many of the limitations that I perceive are limitations that I place on myself.  Whether I have been conditioned or I have formed these limitations on my own, the truth is that many limitations are not as real as I perceive them to be.  The first step in reducing the limitations around me is to truthfully examine the source of those limitations. 

While I have never bungee-jumped, the concept of the act provides for me a visual picture of how to break through the limitations.  First, I believe that it is important to have some sort of tethering device.  The bungee-jumper does not just jump from a bridge or high place, they have the bungee as a tether so that when they reach a potential crashing point, there is something to pull them back.  In limitation breaking that is important as well.  It would be very easy for me to dive off with a sense of a new freedom and if I don’t have a tether, I will crash and burn or at least go way off course.  There are people in my life whom I trust and who can be a great tether for me.

Second, I must have the strength to overcome my fears.  I can imagine that the first time someone stands on the edge of a bridge and is about to jump, there is a huge amount of fear or apprehension in their minds.  They must have the strength to overcome that fear and to jump.  Limitations provide a sense of security for me.  When those limitations are removed, it can be very scary because there is a lot of “unknown” that remains.  So I need to have the strength to overcome that fear and make the move outside of my perceived limitations.

If I stay inside the bounds of my perceived limitations, I will be somewhat safe and I will have some level of survival.  But if I want to grow and be a part of some very amazing, life-changing experiences, I will need to break through my perceived limitations. 

The final thing I must remember is that I always have a safety net…… the Lord.  Even if what I try outside of my perceived limitations fails, the Lord is ready to catch me and to set me on the path once again. 

So my challenge for myself and for each of my readers is this….. Are you ready to break through your perceived limitations?

Posted February 7, 2012 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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Time is an Interesting Thing   Leave a comment

Pocket watch, savonette-type.

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This morning as I have come to the realization that we are in the last full week of October, I have been contemplating time.  Just yesterday I was in a conversation during which we commented on how fast this year seems to be going and the strange phenomenon that as we grow older, the years seem to go faster.  I have no understanding why time appears to go faster as we age but it is a perception upon which many people make comments.

Time seems to sweep us away.  When you take the opportunity to look back on time or when you stop and ponder what was happening even a year ago, it can be truly amazing how many changes take place.  There is a period of our lives when time seems to be standing still.  Then before you know it, time has moved so quickly that you don’t even have a chance to notice.

The movement of time can be very positive or it can be negative.  However, it is not the movement of time that has an influence but more how we perceive the transitions of life that have occurred during that movement of time.  Life is always changing, transitioning, transforming and evolving.  This occurs within the movement of time.  So often my view of that movement is dependent upon my view of the changes that have occurred during that period of time.

Time continues to move forward and truth be told, it is always at the same pace.  However our experiences throughout that forward motion impacts our perception of time and its influence on our lives.

Time is a curious thing…..  where will I find myself a year from now?  what will the world be like?  what will be my focus?  Only time will tell, and time is already moving in that direction.

Posted October 26, 2011 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life

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