Perception is Nine Tenths of the Law

It was long held that “possession is nine tenths of the law” but a good friend of mine who’s a publicist recently convinced me otherwise.

Sure it’s nice to own stuff, especially property, and that’s where the original saying came from. If it’s mine, I hold the power kinda thing. But is life about owning stuff? Do you really need to be in possession of something to influence, persuade or control a situation?

I say you don’t and here’s why…

If someone perceives you are strong and capable, are you not those things? If someone perceives you have a great job, a lovely home, in their mind, that’s a truth. Now you might live in a more modest home than they perceive, have a less glamorous or exciting job, but what matters beyond your happiness of course, is how you see yourself and how you are perceived.

You don’t need to drive an expensive car or wear brand labels with a flashy watch to be perceived as successful any more than you need to plaster university certificates on a wall to be perceived as intelligent. You need to be confident. You need to project the image of yourself that you hold true in your heart and mind.

Andy Warhol said; “Perception precedes reality.” People will perceive you as you project yourself to be.

So don’t lament what you don’t have. What you haven’t done. Where you should be. Project the best version of yourself by visualising the person you want to become. By seeing yourself as healthy, successful, welltravelled…whatever it is you feel you can improve. It starts in your mind. If you can perceive it, you can make others see it to.

“It’s all in the mind” – George Harrison

And yes, it works both ways. Outside in, and inside out. If your perception of a situation is negative, it’s very likely you will manifest an adverse outcome. We attract what we think about after all. As Wayne Dyer said; “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” Basically, look at everything through a positive filter. Perceive positivity and life improves.

Creating positive perceptions can benefit those around you. Being seen walking or exercising leads others to perceive that you care about your health and wellbeing. That in turn, may motivate them to do a little more in this regard. Demonstrating that you work hard and are diligent, or that you are altruistic, can also positively motivate change in others.

Human beings are by nature, judgemental, so influencing perceptions isn’t hard because they’re being made all the time anyway. You simply have to try to create the most favourable and positive version of yourself for others. And no, that most certainly doesn’t mean through lying or boasting! Don’t do that. There is however, a reason the ‘fake it till you make it’ ethos has become so universal. It’s because some clever soul realised that conditioning your mind to perceive yourself as successful works. It’s visualisation and affirming behaviour in one package. And by creating a positive perception in the minds of others, you receive positive reinforcement about yourself.

If you see someone striding along with a smile, what do you immediately perceive? That they’re successful, happy, confident, going about their business in a productive manner? Perhaps all of that?! Conversely if you see someone whose shoulders are slumped, head down and shuffling, it’s likely you will perceive that they are down on their luck or, having a bad day. Regardless of circumstances, it will evoke feelings of pity and empathy rather than confidence and aspiration.

People like to associate with positive people. They generally like to be around ‘winners’. But what they often fail to grasp, is that ‘winning’ is a perception, just like ‘success’. So stand tall. Walk confidently. Smile and say “hello”. Dress neatly – you don’t need expensive clothes if you can’t afford them, but if you want them, imagine yourself wearing the best brands and likewise, others will perceive you to be so.

They say confidence is the greatest aphrodisiac, and it may well be. But it’s also the greatest tool you have to re-shape self-perception and, that of the people around you.