fareedun hocane

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Perception is an important aspect of human behaviour.

I have seen people facing many problems; sometimes they are able to solve them and sometimes not. Every person tends to view things in different ways and with their own perspective.

Perception is one of the most important aspects of human behaviour. Depending on how we perceive things, we may see the glass either as half-empty or as half-full. The more positively we perceive situations and circumstances the more efficiently we are able to avert a crisis. People who tend to see the world in an optimistic manner generally make better leaders and are able to communicate messages to their co-workers and subordinates in a more positive and more effective way.

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    Gail .

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    Oct 21 2012: Learning (about anything and everything) is my greatest joy in life. I have discovered that as my knowledge base grew, my perceptions changed dramatically.
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      Oct 21 2012: The more you know, the more you see.
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      Oct 21 2012: Dear TED Lover and Frans,
      I also perceive exploring and learning as very joyful...the more I think I know...the more I think I see... the more I want to explore... learn and maybe "know"...the more joy...learning...growing...exploring...what a wonderful cycle to experience!!! I think it is called LIFE:>)
  • Oct 21 2012: It is easy for me to feel poor in the community where I live but I don't have to travel far to see how rich I am. For me, the trick is to remember how rich I am so that I am able to share what I have with others. If I forget, I become poor again.
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    Oct 20 2012: I generally agree with you, but then I think about about hallucinations and clear miss-perceptions. Whether these are caused by injury or drugs or mental illness of some sort, I think in some cases, our perceptions are just plain wrong, and we would be harmed by acting is if they were true, even with an optimistic assumption. I think one must always be prepared to question one's perceptions.

    So I believe the life skill here, is to utilize an optimistic framework in general, yet somehow magically know when to override your optimism with a healthy dose of realism, or perhaps skepticism. There's a bit of magic there - how do you know when to set your optimism aside?
  • Oct 20 2012: I agree. But then, when we try to develop/change perceptions we are also trying to change one BIG chunk of his/her life. Every perception should be respected and heard out. You never know that might be the angle you've been looking out for! :)
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    Oct 21 2012: The world is not perfect; and living is not as rosy as in the world of fantasies. But we have the power to choose our interpretation of events and circumstances; we have the power to choose our attitude.
    Our choices would then determine whether we would get more courage and strength for living or whether we would weaken our strengths with foolishness.
    Great idea Fareedun.
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    R H

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    Oct 21 2012: Thank you for bringing this up. After a long career in business and sales, this subject of 'perception's significance' has long been supported by research, yet held suspect by me and my experience. Although it's indisputable that our actions are mostly determined by our perceptions and that perceptions are very real in our brains, I'm concerned about perceptions vs. reality. I also would dispute your assertion that 'optimistic people make better leaders' (We had a President once (Jimmy Carter) who was/is very optimistic yet failed miserably in his job as president). I believe there is the way we see things, and the way things are. We think that we assess the way things are with our perceptions, our methods, our training, but soon we discover that we didn't have all of the pieces, or there were factors missing from our assessment, or our foundational understanding proved to be inadequate. Disaster often follows, whether we saw the glass 'half full' or not. For me, perception can be dangerous. Just look at political efforts and how those in positions of authority try to manipulate perceptions. Or advertisers... If a CEO is "more positive and more effective" in communicating with employees while he/she's selling their stock because the company's being sold to a firm breaking up the company, the reality doesn't match the perception of trustworthiness and confidence being displayed.
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    Oct 21 2012: Hi Fareedun - you are quite right!

    In fact, perception is the basis of how our brains work.
    The neural arrangements are connected by synapses, these synapses become more or less sensitive. If you were to lay out all the neurons and synapses flat and graph the synaptic sensitivities, it would look like river systems.

    Some of these systems can change their pathways in a flash, some are more persistent.

    Humans have a few layers of these systems - one is dedicated to monitoring and controling your body state - keeping it all healthy and balanced - it has its own set of senses that are mostly unconscious. There is another level that takes care of the external senses and compares them with internal states - this level converts the senses data into information that gets used to predict outcomes in physical action. Then there is the level that decodes behaviour in others - this level takes care of communication - it is very powerful because it can almost "see" through the eyes of others. It is the part that runs perpetual "stories" about what we see and what we plan to do - about ourselves and about others.

    In this way, perception is the process of converting senses and other brain activity into what we call "information". It's like a big, complicated sorting-machine.

    Now - this sorting machine is very vulnerable in childhood - the "river systems" that get layed out by early experience tend to influence everything that is layed-down later. This can produce different outlooks and attitudes that persist. George Lakoff has done a lot of study on this - he has a few talks on youtube well worth looking at.

    Other things can influence the persistent patterns in our synapses - trauma can do it, also chronic stress can do it.

    For the nature of the layers of consciousness - look at Antonio Damasio - he has a talk here on TED.

    For the behavioural dynamics, have a look at Robert Sapolski:
    Worth watching them all!
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    Oct 21 2012: I think:
    (1) Perception is determined by the computation results of one’s soul.
    (2) The soul consists of instinct data and acquired data.
    (3) If the data meet the objective conditions, you will have a good correct perception, and vice versa.

    No matter you are optimistic or pessimistic.
    However, optimistic turn on you brain, but pessimistic turn it off in most cases.

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    Oct 20 2012: Perceptions are important.....understanding your individual perception holds no inert value...is more important.
  • Oct 20 2012: Sourav Panda makes a very good point.

    Optimism way well be the best attitude for each of us individually, but it might have a negative effect on society if we all become optimistic. Our varied perceptions is why we use business meetings, corporate boards, committees and other groups to make important decisions. If we were all optimistic the quality of decisions might suffer.

    IMO, it is easy to adopt an optimistic attitude, and it is easy to adopt a pessimistic attitude. The most difficult perception to maintain is cold realism. When making decisions about the future it is difficult to confront how much you do not know and face the uncertainty.
    • Oct 21 2012: Yes ... I imagine a pessimist may have been helpful when I hear stories of people trying to cross Death Valley.

      Pessimist: Dude, do we have enough food and water?

      Optimist: Sure we do! Let's go!

      A few weeks of travel pass ...

      Pessimist: Well its down to you and me now ... Everyone else had died and been eaten. I have to let you know that I am probably going to have to eat you next. .. but then, I guess that makes me kind of an optimist now, doesn't ti?

      Optimist: Hmmm ... uhhhh??!!!! Are you interested in vegetarianism??

      Pessimist: Not really.