I have traveled many cities, many states and many countries and it seems that our way of life in all of them is the same. It is focused on the pursuit of wealth. We all seek the same exact thing but at what cost and to what degree do we change ourselves and our way of life to get to our goal. The reality remains that the image we portray is not always our own, but rather a fabrication to blend in to help us achieve the reality we truly want. The problem however remains that within this change, we do indeed change and sometime lose sight of our real values but more importantly change our perception of the world, as the world changes its perception of us.
So how do we decide which image is real, which isn’t and what perception can do for or against us?
There are two images to consider in the world, how you see yourself and how others see you. The trick is to be able to control the image the world sees of you, not how you see yourself. Self image is great but often exaggerated and therefore causes people to miss what’s important, their flaws. Everyone has flaws but when we look in a mirror we often compromise and down play our flaws causing even our self image or self assessment to be wrong. We often lack the ability to self assess ourselves as we tend to sugar coat the reality we do not wish to see, and there comes the third party assessment that we often hate being criticized by, our friends, family and colleagues are all part of that third party but are not all synchronized as they do not see us the way we ourselves, they all see a different aspect of our life and each under a different light. It is only the combination of what we portray to each that determines the world’s perception of us.
Perception is everything, even more important than reality as it will make you or break you. Think back to your high school days, and ask yourself what happened when someone started a rumor. The world’s perception of you changed and people believed the rumor to be true, despite no proof or evidence pointing the rumor to be true. The importance of perception in business is no different, what people believe they will do. The perception that the dollar is going to become worthless and that the economy will continue to collapse will get people to buy gold, instead of stocks, in other words, the perception of fear draws people to invest in something that they would never invest in otherwise.
We create opportunities for ourselves by being a chameleon and blending in a world that we wouldn’t normally belong to and milk it for all of its advantages. I will give you a simple example around our passion of cars. Almost all individuals would enjoy a nicer car, many of which act on it and buy a nice new car to get them from point A to B without breaking down and with some basic luxuries, but they blend in buying an ordinary car as they see no value in a piece of metal, they see its purpose. For the rest of us that get it; we buy a car to advance ourselves, to portray success, and to belong to a new level of partnership. As much as you may feel your car is useless, it portrays an image for you, an image that attracts similar images, money makes money, success attracts success and people’s perception (which is what matters) changes despite the fact that they will never know the truth behind the image you portray. Your car now becomes a weapon, similar to your suits, your watch or anything else that materialistic people seem to care about. You may laugh at them but remember that its about perception and that despite the fact that jealousy does come with the territory, it also draws success, money, growth and more importantly buy in from the world around you.
Next time you doubt this, ask the guy with the latest model Porsche, Ferrari or Lamborghini what their friends drive and let me know if you meet a guy that seems very wealthy but has an entourage of poor people as their friends, because at the end of the day, it takes money to make money.