How to Differentiate Between Facts and Perceptions to Achieve your Goals
In order to achieve your goals, you need to overcome obstacles that are hindering you. Most obstacles can be classified as either facts or perceptions. Before we go into each of these, take out a piece of paper or open a blank document on your computer, and list down all the obstacles that are hindering you in life.
Are you satisfied with your list? Good. Now take out 2 more pieces of paper or open 2 blank new documents on your computer and write “Facts” on 1 piece / document and “Perceptions” on the other.
Facts refer to those things which stand in your way, which are clearly truths about your present situation. For example, if your bank balance is really only a hundred dollars, then that is clearly a fact, because you can see your bank balance right in front of you. Or if your weight now is less than ideal and you have clear empirical evidence of it in front of your very eyes, then that is classified as a fact. Take from your list all those obstacles which stand in your way of attaining your goals which are also facts and put them into this new list labelled as “Facts”.
Next, Perceptions refer to those things which you are not sure whether or not they are true, or things which can sometimes be true and sometimes be not true at all. For example, a belief that your spouse does not love you might qualify as a perception (unless of course your spouse physically, mentally and emotionally abuses you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and you have the physical and emotional scars to show – then that is a fact and you should leave him or her as soon as possible). Or an assumption that people might not like you for wanting to sell them something that you want to sell for your own personal profit. Usually, beliefs or assumptions are just perceptions. If they don’t have a basis in physical reality, then that is a perception.
If it is a memory of any particular negative experience, then it is a perception. If you find that it is sometimes true and sometimes not true, then it qualifies as a perception. If it’s an opinion about yourself (I’m not good enough, smart enough, brave enough, etc), then it is a perception. But if it’s clearly a description about yourself (I weigh 80 kg, I have acne, I am bulimic, I stutter, etc), then it is a fact, not a perception. If it’s a sweeping statement that attempts to classify or describe an entire group of people (based on race, nationality, religious belief, social class, gender, etc), then it is definitely a perception – probably a very, very flawed and dangerous perception.
Take from your list all those obstacles which stand in your way of attaining your goals which are also perceptions and put them into this new list labelled as “Perceptions”. Now you have 2 classified lists – one labelled Facts, the other labelled Perceptions. You need to now go through these 2 lists and one by one (or more than one simultaneously in one sweeping move) tackle them in order to clear your pathway towards achieving your goals.