Success and Clashing Perceptions

How and Why You Should Win that War


Jonathan Desaussure

” Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.

A gray Kia Sorento pulls into a corporate buildings parking lot. Inside the car sits Jack, a man in his mid thirties, nice looking, and he’s in a fabulous mood. Jack pulls down the sun visor and looks at a picture of a vacation spot. Coral blue water, golden sand, and small huts with nothing but luxury. The huts are on the water’s edge.  Jack has written on the picture in permanent black magic marker: only $50,000 more in sales by next week. He closes his eyes and imagines his wife in a white bikini chasing him around the exotic beach in the picture. Jack opens his eyes, pushes the visor up, and gets out of the car. He hurries to the front door of the corporate building and steps inside ready to conquer the world.

Inside the office, Jack walks briskly past Tom, Janet, and Frank, his co-workers. He arrives at his cubicle, drops his briefcase on his desk, and opens it.  He’s smiling ear to ear as he pulls out a list. He sits, picks up the phone, and starts making calls like a maniac. He setting appointments as easy as it is for him to breathe.  10:00 A.M.: Jack isn’t getting in touch with the decision makers any more. His hit miss ratio is falling. His excitement has waned. Jack taps his pen on his desktop. He looks at his watch: 11:45 A.M.. He stares at the phone as if it’s a wild animal ready to rip his face off. Frank hears Jacks pen tapping on the desk and takes that as a cue to visit Jack. He walks over to Jack’s desk.
“Hey Jack, how about some lunch dude? Me, Tom, and Janet are going to Shipwrecks. You wanna go?”
“I can’t. I’ve got a few more calls to make, need to get this done,” says Jack.
“Hell, don’t worry about it. I’m certain everybody is at lunch now. Haven’t you noticed that you can’t get the time of day right now?”
Janet and Tom show up, and they help Frank persuade Jack into going to lunch with them.

The four of them are sitting at a table at Shipwrecks. The music is too loud, and the chatter is even louder. A waitress places their food on the table. Frank leans over the table toward Jack, rabbit punches him in the shoulder, and asks,
“How much more do you have to sell to win the dream vacation?”
“After this morning, $40,000 left.”
“You’ll never get it,” declares Tom. “There’s not enough time left.”
“Yeah, nobody has ever pulled $40,000 in sales off in four days before,” says Janet. Jack looks down at his plate, and plays with his food. He never smiled during lunch.

It’s after lunch and Jack is back at his desk. He’s staring at the phone. It has grown fangs and seven-inch claws. He looks around the office. Some of his co-workers are on the phone; and the rest are talking to each other. Jack looks at the picture of his wife and imagines how disappointed she’ll be when he tells her he didn’t meet the goal because he quit trying. He opens his eyes and looks at Tom. Tom sees jack struggling to get back into the groove of things, and he doesn’t offer Jack encouragement.

Have you been in Jack’s shoes? Are you in Jack’s shoes now? If you have ever tried to accomplish anything, you know and have felt Jack’s situation.

Is it true that everybody is at lunch? No, but it sure appeared to be true to Jack. His coworkers believed it was true and that’s why they quit making calls. The truth is that many of Jack’s prospects were at lunch, but not all of them, not from a list of six hundred names. Is it true that Jack will never make his sales quota before time is up? Don’t know. It’s up to Jack and how he’ll handle his disappointment, and how he’ll handle the difference in the perception of events.

What happened to Jack? Subtle programming is what happened to him. In a moment of weakness and frustration, he let the assumptions of his co-workers become his reality, a difference in perception of what is happening on the phone. Why? He likes them and admires them. He wants their approval and they are willing to give it to him whether he wants it or not. Achievers have to battle clashing perceptions of reality all the time. Every person thinks his or her perception of an event is correct and that everybody else should see the world or a situation they way they see it. A professor of psychology named William Swann come up with a behavioral theory called the self-verification theory. It states: once a person has established a belief about himself, he prefers others to see him as he sees himself. A subconscious thought might be, as follows: if others see things the way I do, then this is verification that I’m correct. These people will also seek out others who believe they way they believe. These people will also impose his or her beliefs on another person in effort to verify his or her own. This is happening all the time. We are all connected in society. Once one member breaks away from the expected social norm, society will by their own mental concept of reality, impose their beliefs and opinions on the one breaking away from the norm. The point; events are neither good nor bad. The belief system of the person creates the perception of the event as good or bad. For the point of my article, let’s accept that for Jack’s purposes, accepting the beliefs of his co-workers is bad. It’s bad for him because it has made him less productive, and that lack of productivity severely decreases his chances of making his goal.

How does one combat that mental anguish and confusion that brings on low productivity?
Here are four things you can do.

  1. Remember that the events that are happening in everybody’s life are true to him or her. If they have different goals or a different belief system, their opinions will be different.
  2. Don’t allow others opinions of you or what you should be doing determine who you are or what you are capable of doing. If your behavior is, right, good, and serving you well, keep it.

  3. Be confident in the direction you are going. You do this by becoming strongly established in your beliefs so no one can shake your tree. There’s a balance here though. You don’t want to be wishy-washy because you never gain traction, also, you don’t want to be so opinionated that you can’t give yourself the freedom to test the validity of your belief. I learned this point from Dr. Phill McGraw.

  4. Have the courage to pursue your dreams, even in the face of uncertainty.

Challenge: Go look a dream-stealer in the face and let them see you go after your dream. As always, strive to be a better you.


Published by

Jonathan Desaussure

Jonathan is an entrepreneur and author who lives in the USA. He likes to focus on content that he feels will entertain and educate his audience. Since Jonathan has been writing, he has written four books, six screenplays, and a TV pilot, which he recently finished. Soon he'll be back to blogging. He's excited about the things to come.

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