No. 438


There are many factors that contribute to a person's success, but one that is not readily understood is something we call "perception." This word comes from the root word "perceive" which is really a great mental power and means "To become aware of something through the senses; see, hear, taste, touch or smell." For this reason, when we perceive something we actually see it in our mind and then we can choose words to express what we perceive in a variety of different ways. The ability to see our opportunities and our challenges accurately and come to the proper conclusion, will make a tremendous difference in our success. We can't succeed if we have wrong perceptions or make false assumptions a good percent of the time.

A friend sent me something the other day titled "Assumptions" that will validate what I am saying. "It seems that a distinguished looking colonel with his handsome young aid traveling in France on a train, occupied a compartment with a pretty young woman and her old maid aunt. There was pleasant conversation for a while then the train passed through a tunnel and the compartment became dark. After a few seconds there was a sound like someone kissing someone on the cheek and then a loud whack, as if someone had been slapped. When the train emerged from the tunnel, there sat the colonel with a large red welt on his face, looking as if he had been slapped. Now here are the assumptions or what was perceived.

No.1. The Aunt assumed that the colonel had taken advantage of the darkness, kissed the girl and that the girl had rightly given him what he deserved. No 2. The Colonel assumed that the sergeant recognized the opportunity, kissed the girl and that she had defended herself and slapped me by mistake. No. 3. The girl assumed that the colonel, who was very good looking, had tried to kiss her in the dark, had gotten the aunt by mistake and that the aunt had slapped him soundly. No. 4. The Sergeant was not happy with his lowly job of taking care of the colonel, had in fact, kissed the back of the colonel's hand and then gave him a good whack."

In reality, these assumptions were really " perceptions" of the total scenario that each person saw in their mind. To be able to figure out who slapped or who kissed whom in advance would have been almost as difficult as trying to solve one of Jessica Fletcher's murder mysteries. This great power of "perception" is a trait or quality that can be developed over time, and it will enable us to use all five of our senses, plus two others that we call horse sense and common sense. For example, we use a dual sensory input when we listen to a taped message and read along with the words at the same time. It has been scientifically proven that this process will enable us to retain more information than if we only used one of our senses. Without being aware that we possess this great power, we will limit our ability to make wise choices and decisions.

If you will think about it, making wise choices and decisions is what success is all about. When you Ôperceive' opportunities or problems, and you take time to think them through, are you proven right most of the time? In view of this, please consider this wonderful story from the Bible about the woman from Samaria who had come to Jacob's Well to draw water. When Jesus was traveling through this country he became thirsty and he so asked this Samaritan woman for a cool drink of water. He said, "Give Me a drink." And she replied, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, Ôgive me a drink' you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water." After a lengthy discussion, He says to her, "Go call your husband and come here." She responds by saying,Ê "I have no husband." Then Jesus said to her, "You have said well, I have no husband, for you have had five husbands; and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."

Here is the main reason that I decided to share this story with you. The Samaritan woman then said, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet" The word Ôperceive' in this last statement is what I wanted you to see and I took note that this is only one of a few verses where it can be found in the entire Bible. For me, and perhaps for you as well, here is the real issue that is formed as a question. What qualities did this woman possess that told her that this Man was a prophet? Well, I believe the conclusion reached was the result of her mental process that started from the very first moment He spoke to her. We also have this great power. Are you able to perceive accurately most of the time? (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)