Anyone can change the world, all it takes is a shift in our perception.
Our perceptions help to shape our realities. Although we all live in the same world, we tend to focus on what we have “tuned” to look for. The majority of us may have set of fully functioning eyes, but the way in which we individually view the world may be very different. It is easy to find what one seeks, but it’s very difficult to see what one is not looking for. If we look for racism, we are sure to find it. If we were to purchase a new red car, we would be sure to see that color and model seemingly everywhere we look. When we strongly like or dislike a song we seem to hear it quite often. If our friend points out a nervous tic, or idiosyncrasy that an instructor, public leader, or friend exhibits, then that quirk become quite pronounced after that point.
Stereotypes, like bad tippers to a waitress, are self-fulfilling prophecies. Our action and attitudes tend to be adjusted by our preconceives notion, and in turn helps to adjust our mannerisms to usher in our expectations. This, in effect, helps to bring into focus what is expected to be seen. Our vision is extended by the degree of out objectivity, or reduced by the angle of our subjections. To view the world objectively we need not be forced to tolerate any type of person or act that we strongly disagree with, but rather simply be receptive to alternate perspectives prior to drawing a conclusion, or formulating a judgement. It is perfectly fine to have hardened opinions, but we should always allow our convictions to be forged in the furnace of honest objective analysis.
Although our preconceived notions tend to dial our focus, some trends and stereotypical clichés have so obviously molded a particular group that even the most unbiased person cannot help but notice them. I am not stating that the grouping of similar facets of society into mental stereotypes is incorrect assessments to make. In many cases, environments stamp out these cookie-cutter replicants like an assembly line. I’m simply stating that our internal preconceived notions will attempt to direct out external perceptions to the point that they become self-fulfilling. This is why we should always assess every person and situation individually and objectively before we solidify our views.
A delusion that is perceived as reality become reality. Preconceived notions are not simply stereotypical assumptions. They can affect us physically (like when we ingest placebos, or when food seems to taste different after we read, or are told the ingredients). They can direct out attitude, our emotions, and can even affects us spiritually. This is why some people see a piece of toast with a spat of butter, and others see the outline of the Virgin Mary. This can also explain why many religious followers tend to see God’s “Miracles” and others strike it as, “Mere coincidence.” Some people see a light at the end of the tunnel during a near-death experience that tells them to return to their bodies. Others feel the morphine rush their veins, as they are wheeled down a dark corridor and into a brightly lit operating room where they are resuscitated. The phantoms of our mind can become as solid as we believe them to be.
Just as we can manipulate our mind and tap into higher-level brain circuits, which can temporarily manifest mental phantoms as realities, our frame of mind can also block out certain actual realities. For example, on a leisurely drive we do not seem to notice all of the, “Inconsiderate assholes” that we do when we are in a hurry. Happier people tend to focus more on the god side of life. Pissed off and angry people tend to focus more on the negative side of life. We are all capable of having good days, and bad days, good moods, and bad moods, but our baseline is directly relevant to the focal point of our vision. Our moods are often concocted from a mixture of real environment and how our minds are tuned to interpret that environment.
Generally speaking, the sharpness of our focus is directly linked to what we are expecting to see. Ever notice how children have no problem with monsters under their beds until they see a scary movie? After we see a snake, for a short time, every branch or garden hose seems to be one as well. Do you have a friend that seems to always find coins on the ground but you never do? Maybe you have a father or sibling that while driving tends to see wild animals on the side of the read while you often miss them. Ten witnesses can see the exact same auto accident and then later give ten different accounts. This is why we will generally see what we are (often subconsciously) looking for, and why we often miss what we are not.
Source: The Unbounded Spirit