“There is life how it is and life how we think it should be, the more we cling to the latter the more we struggle” - Andy Puddicombe.
The other day I was at an event talking with a man for whom I had respect for and whom I believed had respect for me. He’d engaged me as a speaker for several events in the past and I was confident he knew me quite well. Not just about my life, but how and why I make it awesome! That he knew my cerebral palsy has little if any impact on my quality of life.
We were speaking about travel and in response to one of his statements I mentioned that whenever I’m in a different country I don’t feel significant attention is paid by others to my cerebral palsy (I actually don’t at home either). If I get attention it tends to be for pretty cool and complimentary things.
I was surprised when this man then said to me “people won’t say what they truly think about you because they are too polite”. Maybe he meant this to be complementary in someway, maybe he didn't consider it to be a “bully” like statement but it hurt and I felt I’d just sustained a verbal mugging and my social confidence taken.
Was my perception of who I was not real? Was I not who I believed I was in the world? For a moment I considered that, but then I remembered my actual reality. In no way was this man's perception right or appropriate, but what he said raised an important truth about what we choose to put out into the world.
American singer / songwriter Cyndi Lauper once sang “show your true colors and that’s what they love you” and I believe full control of our life really is this simple; our true colours are a reflection of what we see, what we do and what we create.
Sure it is hard not to assume, it is hard not to make judgment, people do this a lot, but this assumption, this judgment ultimately becomes a risk of limiting their own perception of themselves. Say the man whose perception was that I get a hard time when I travel has an accident himself and becomes disabled, he may not travel again because of his perception of travelers with a disability getting a hard time. Say the same guy is presented with a challenge in the workplace, he may make an immediate judgment based on the short-term challenge rather than see the opportunity to develop long-term success from it.
There’s people in this world who love to look for reason and logic in things that they’ve never experienced, but there's 7.4 billion (and growing) unique people in our world to achieve optimum awesomeness let us see the person don’t presume the life.