September 1, 2021
Discussions of perception usually revolve around the five senses - sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. The Latin perceptiōn literally means to “take in,” so this is not a surprise. But the word has much deeper implications.
Perception is the embodiment of not just the physical data, but of all the internal frames of reference that we use to make value decisions about the world around us. Rather than letting us see what things really are, perception actually limits the potential of the information we take in by automatically assigning pre-formed “tags” to incoming information, so that it can be easily assimilated into our existing frames of reference.
From a mental resource allocation standpoint, this makes sense. Once something gets taken in and categorized, why go through the whole process again?
But from a creative standpoint, being locked into a single perception can be extremely limiting. If all the ups are up and all the downs down, there isn’t a whole lot of room for getting “outside the box.”
What can help?
Constantly remind yourself to step outside your comfort level and get into new situations. Take a new way home. Go to a meeting outside your professional interest. Try a food you’ve never heard of. Talk to strangers. Type a word into the search box of your local library and put a hold on the first book that comes up. Regardless of what it is, it should be done with the intention of creating a new experience - a new frame of reference for how you perceive the world.
Seeing things in new ways, more than anything else, is about training yourself to be open to new possibilities.