There are many ways to segment people. One approach to segmentation I’ve been thinking about of late is around reality and the perception of it.
There are two kinds of people in this regard. The first kind are those who care deeply about understanding reality and regard perception to be a second order priority. The second kind are those who care a lot more about perception than about the reality underpinning it.
As is the case with many of these things, the right path tends to lie in the middle. Reality matters. But, perception matters too.
However, when it comes to most marginal decisions, we tend to make calls based on our preference. So, if you are kind who indexes high on reality over perception, I’ve found that it helps to have folks who are different from you on your team so you can understand the other perspective.
That said, I think there is reason to worry if the folks who are making big decisions are more worried about perception over reality.
If reality sucks, perception can only tell a different story for a finite period of time.
We adjust our expectations from life at record speed. That old dream, once achieved, becomes commonplace in our eyes. So, we move on to the next dream.
In high school, I dreamed of going to college abroad – ideally in Singapore for a variety of reasons. When that worked out, it became “no big deal” in no time because most of the folks I spent time with shared that reality. This happened at the next step and the one after that. Similarly, 9 years ago, just writing a long form blog post every day was a nod to my aspirational self. When that began to happen, I wanted to write better. And, when I felt I was writing better, my mind started wandering toward other things.
This is, of course, an endless cycle. Assuming you chose to work at it, unless you had a specific, incredibly low probability dream, you’ve probably done a decent job at getting to what you want to do and being who you want to be. Until that old dream became commonplace and you just began focusing on the next one.
It is important to to invest in tomorrow. But, life isn’t all about tomorrow either. As you think about how you’re doing today, spend time on that old dream. You are probably doing things and being someone that were once just aspirations. And, that’s a big deal.
Dreams do come true. It’s just a shame if we end up not appreciating that fact as much as we should.
So, every once a while, take the time to remember the days when you prayed for what you have now.