Your Perception Becomes Your Reality

Posted: July 19, 2015 in Psychology
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Your Perception Becomes Your Reality

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Between jobs, in another century it seems like now, I took the worst job ever for a few months; a min wage job washing dishes in a busy restaurant. The non-stop pace began the moment I arrived. There were no breaks. Demands came from all sides; bosses, cooks, waitresses. It was go, go, go the entire shift. Everyone feels free to yell at the dish-washer when their day isn’t going well. And the hours sucked. The best dish-washer only got 25 hours per week. At first, I got less than that. The job didn’t even cover my bills.

I hated it. Even though I have a strong work ethic, am a fast learner, and am physically fit, nothing was ever good enough or fast enough. Especially not fast enough. I became faster. I learned what the needs were going to be before anyone asked. I ignored my aching back, my sore hands and feet, until after work when I would rest up while sitting at my computer writing. After an hour or two of writing, I could stand long enough to take a shower and go to bed.

I loved it, in an odd sort of way. This is where perception and reality come into the picture.

I needed to have some kind of work while I searched for my next full time job. I had landed that position so it was in my best interests to make the best of it. I could think of it as unrewarding drudge work for grumpy bosses and co-workers. Or I could think of it as a challenge.

It was unrewarding financially because it wasn’t enough hours. That gave me more hours per week for writing.

It was drudge work because that was the job and it was only a temporary part-time job anyway. The drudge work would be gone in the near future when I found my next job.

The grumpy bosses and co-workers were just venting their stress. It had nothing to do with me. I couldn’t be washing plates, washing glasses, washing buckets, refilling the vegetables, refilling the pop, and lugging sacks of flour and sugar all at the same time. I did my best to keep all of those things covered but everything would continue to run out as meals were served. I cheerfully took care of whatever task someone was letting themselves get upset about.

I kept my own frustrations to myself. The problems would be resolved. The rush would pass. The shift would end. There was no need to yell at anyone. It only increased the tension. React with a positive attitude, even if you need to fake it, and everyone gets a little less stressed, even you.

Perception is Reality

I could have perceived the job as a temporary crap job for not enough money working with grumps. There were plenty of ways to see the job negatively.

Or I could have perceived the job as a temporary challenge that helped with the bills while I worked with stressed, but good, people.

I chose the positive perception. Why chose a perception that makes your reality into negativity? I can think of only one good reason – to motivate you to make change. But, I was working on finding my next job anyway because of the money.

The job became a challenge. Can I work faster? Can I catch the shortages before they become problems? Can I get all of the dishes, pots, pans, buckets, and trays cleaned earlier than expected? Yes. I could. Anyone could. All it takes is a positive attitude and a positive perception of reality.

If you find yourself in a position surrounded by negativity, the healthiest thing to do is to keep working on an escape plan while cultivating a positive perception. It will make the job, housing situation, or relationship bearable because you will know the problem won’t last forever.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Every day I went into that negative environment was a killer for my emotional well being, but I believe it was also a growth experience. I needed to work at getting into a positive attitude every time. In the work I’ve done since then, negative situations have been minor by comparison. Worrying accomplishes nothing. Keep working and minor problems either solve themselves or get buried.

I’m not an advocate of positive thinking as a cure all. A happy life requires continuous growth and learning. But that’s a different story for another day.

Article by Ivan Izo.

For a short story about someone with a much tougher job than washing dishes, check out my thriller short story Chameleon.

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