It’s a Matter of Perception

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?” “It was great, Dad.” “Did you see how poor people can be?” the father asked. “Oh Yeah” said the son. “So what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.” With this the boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are.”

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Each day we go through a myriad of feelings.  Sometimes we’re joyful and happy, sometimes frustrated and angry or perhaps simply in a neutral space.  One feeling lasts for a period of time and is then replaced by another one.

These feelings are the result of our perceptions about what is going on in the moment.  Our reality.  But my reality is not the same as your reality.  Imagine that you are out walking at dusk.  You turn a corner on a dusty road, see a snake and scream.  I am right behind you, turn the same corner and see only a piece of rope on the road. Same situation, different perceptions.  In the story above, the father sees poverty where his son sees abundance.

So next time you are feeling frustrated, angry and irritated, at yourself or someone else, take a moment and try to see the situation from a different perspective. Sometimes life isn’t fair and sometimes we have no control over events but there’s always another way to look at it if we just stop and take the time.

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” — Anais Nin

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