All good or all stupid? 3 factors determine how you see the world
We all see the world from different eyes – and interpret what we see differently. You can read here which factors play the main roles in this interpretation.
We rarely make this clear to ourselves, but doing it every now and then doesn’t hurt: We all live on the same planet, but each in his own world. No two people have an identical (perception of) reality. And that is not only because we look from different eyes and look at things from different angles, but also because we interpret all impressions and information that reach us and turn them into a picture of reality. An idea to which we specifically react and which we can handle. Everything we decide, feel and do is based on our own, individual interpretation of reality. And in some situations, being aware of this can help or comfort us.
But which factors determine and influence our interpretation, our conception of reality? The psychologist Marian Rojas Estapé names and describes the following three in her book “How you cause good things to happen to you”.
These 3 factors largely determine how you see the world
Your attention or perception of reality
(ascending reticular activation system = ARAS)
Every moment that we are awake, heaps of information patter down on us – but we only perceive a fraction of it consciously. Our mind is constantly in the process of prioritizing and selecting the information from our sensory impressions that is important and interesting for us. These, in turn, can vary greatly depending on the life situation and from person to person.
For example, if you only walk in your own neighborhood and then have a friend take you home by car, you will probably be surprised at how many one-way streets and turning bans there are in the area. Or another example: If we are just thinking about getting new sneakers, we will certainly be much more attentive and aware of what other people are wearing than usual. And we will not have an eye for their jackets.
Psychologists call this selective attention mechanism “ascending reticular activation system” (ARAS). Without this system, we would be overwhelmed with processing the information that is beating down on us. Because we use it, our conscious perception is tailored to us and our current life situation – and therefore always individual and subjective.
We presumably all know this from experience: we generally perceive the world around us completely differently and judge it differently when we feel good than when we feel bad. For example, if we are stressed and overtired, we may find a text message from a friend who asks us whether we want to have a little wine with her in the evening as stressful or oppressive. If we feel fit and balanced, we look forward to the suggestion and let the Primitivo breathe. Depending on how we feel, the same event can be a catastrophe for us or a minor matter. Depending on how you feel, we can classify a to-do as an easy peasy or an unsolvable problem.
(By the way, here you can read again what factors our condition depends on)
Your belief system
Our beliefs, for example our opinion about what is right and wrong or good and bad or what is going on beyond what we (can) know, influence to a large extent how we perceive and judge the world and events around us . For example, when a loved one dies and we believe in heaven, it is a temporary farewell for us. If we do not believe in heaven, we are aware that we will miss this person until it is our turn and no longer feel anything. One event, two realities – due to different belief systems.
Admittedly, if we think too much about how subjective and selective our personal reality is, it can be quite unsettling and demoralizing. With every decision or with things that we are happy to have in mind straight away, “it’s ‘just’ my perception”, is certainly anything but helpful and meaningful. But in conflicts, for example, when we find it difficult to tolerate the opinion of others, when we perceive a situation as hopeless or in similar situations, this knowledge of the individuality and subjectivity of our reality can be very valuable. That is why we should take it into account precisely in our decisions and our actions.
Source used: “How to make good things happen to you” (Marian Rojas Estapé)