THE BLOG
07/25/2016 11:00 am ET Updated Jul 26, 2017

Perceptions Of Reality

In my book Mastering Change (revised edition, 2016, Adizes Institute Publications) I discuss a concept called "perceptions of reality." I suggest that there are three different ways to perceive a reality: what is going on, what should be going on, and what you want to be going on.

These three perceptions can be partially overlapping, like the Olympic Rings or a Venn diagram. The center, where all three perceptions overlap, is labeled "mine." In that area, what you are actually saying is: What is, what should be, what I want are one and the same.

If these perceptions were about another person, we would call it puppy love. You feel wonderful because everything is perfect. That is why we say to our beloved, "You are mine." But then, once you get to know the person, perhaps after you get married, you find out that what you want should not be, and what should be isn't, and what is is not what you want. That's called life.

So what's the difference between puppy love and mature love? In mature love, you love not because of but in spite of. That's the difference between liking and loving. In mature love you accept people as they are. You eliminate expectations and live with what is.

We are all looking for "mine" in life, for perfection -- where what is, what we want, and what should be are one and the same. Good luck. Even if that happens, it can only last for a very short time because of change. What we want changes. What should be also changes -- this changes slower, but still it does change. And what is going on changes all the time. So even if we achieve "mine" it will be lost over time with change. This causes pain: What is you do not want. And what you want should not be. And what should be is not.

Perfection is abnormal; normal is imperfection.

Life is imperfection because of change.

Eliminate expectations. Join the real world. Wake up. Good morning.

When diagnosing a problem do not start with what you want. Start with what is going on. Get anchored in reality. Then ask yourself what you want in light of that reality, and subsequently what should you do to change the reality you do not want.

Just thinking,

Ichak Kalderon Adizes