While this isn’t exactly an earth-shattering observation, I have noticed how perception colors everything. It reminds me of a song on Sesame Street – “that’s about the size”.
If you notice in our media the enemies are “killed” or “eliminated” while our soldiers are “slain”. The terminology is different because saying “slain” implies an unjust killing. Seals are “culled” not eliminated because “culled” implies doing it for their own good, and “eliminated” is cold and unfeeling.
This perception coloring everything became even more apparent recently. My dear friend Bev passed away after a lengthy fight with cancer. We all knew it was coming and so her family had an opportunity to be with her at the end. Imagine how it would be different if she had died suddenly, such as a heart attack or car accident. Some people might think they were lucky, some not.
Another example would be surviving a horrific plane crash. Most people would say, “You sure are lucky to have survived that!” but think of how unlucky you are to be in a crash in the first place! The odds of being in a plane crash are as low as 1 in 13.57 million! Your odds of winning the freakin lottery are better than that!
This perception of things also has to do with the perceived consequences and severity of outcomes. Let’s say you were having a complicated surgery that had a 50/50 percent chance of a positive outcome. If you came through it with flying colors would you think you had a good day or a bad day? Depends. If the worst that could happen is you would die, then it was a good day. If the worst that could happen is you would have a scar, the perception of the outcome changes.
Perhaps this perception coloring everything is why the term “rose-colored glasses” exists. There are some people who, no matter what see things in a positive light.
Obama is stepping into the driver’s seat of a country that is a total mess. His predecessor has bank-rupted the country both financially and morally, ruined their international reputation with an illegal war and helped create one of the worst financial situations since the great depression. Yet, Obama remains confident, his perception is that the country can fix itself, that America can become the beacon of freedom it once was.
Several of my friends have been laid off recently from their various jobs, yet all of them remain positive. Perhaps it is because they know how much better off they are here in Canada than elsewhere; perhaps they are confident they can find work elsewhere. Whatever the reason, their perception is inspiring.