Beware of False Perceptions

Recovered memory syndrome (RMS) is a phenomenon whereby a questioner “helps” someone remember events that may be fictional by asking leading questions. The reason such questioning works – in bogus molestation cases, for example – is because the mind is very susceptible to suggestion.

But RMS is just one aspect of a much broader problem – the consequences that tend to flow from any kind of false perception of reality, no matter what the cause. False perceptions brought about by RMS are the result of what we commonly refer to as “brainwashing” or “the power of suggestion.”

Interestingly, good advertising and good salesmanship use this same tool to try to guide consumers’ perception of reality. If successful, it can result in sales, to be sure. But it also can result in dissatisfied customers if such customers later believe they were misled.

Action is the starting point of all progress. But an accurate perception of reality is the foundation upon which a successful person bases his actions. A false perception of reality leads to false premises. Which, in turn, leads to false assumptions. Which, in turn, leads to false conclusions. Which, ultimately, leads to negative results.

If, for example, a batter perceives that the pitcher has just released a fastball, but in fact the pitch is a curve, there’s a high probability he’s going to swing and miss.

The point is that the roots of success are planted in one’s perception of the world.

The late conservative economist Henry Hazlitt once wrote that an entrepreneur’s success is to a great degree dependent upon how accurately he can predict the future. And, though the entrepreneur may not consciously think about it, those predictions are based on his perception of reality.

I’ve seen one case after another of a person having a warped perception of what he brings to the negotiating table, which usually results in his walking away empty-handed. Homeowners are often guilty of this kind of self-delusion when they harbor an inflated perception of the value of their houses.

False perceptions also run rampant in the publishing business. First-time authors usually believe that a publisher will heavily promote their books. Unfortunately, such a perception is pure fantasy. Publishers do not promote books. They print and distribute them.

On the other side of this coin, most first-time authors also tend to believe that they’ve written War and Peace and that their masterpiece will sell quickly through word of mouth. Again, such perceptions are pure fantasy. An author has a better chance of winning the lottery.

The inaccurate perceptions one can harbor in business dealings are literally infinite. But there is one that is probably more costly than any other. I am referring to what occurs when you become involved in a business deal with someone who is clearly unethical.

An acquaintance of mine had an uncanny knack for becoming entangled with dishonest people. His problem was that he was a romantic. He simply couldn’t stop himself from becoming enamored with every guy who crossed his path wearing a fake Rolex. And the more such an all-show-and-no-dough person boasted about his accomplishments, the more mesmerized he became. As you might have guessed, he spent more time in court than he did working on his business.

I can’t give you a surefire formula for being able to differentiate between honorable and disreputable people, because I myself still manage to get my body parts caught in the wrong place from time to time. Happily, however, I have noticed two changes in my life with regard to this problem.

First, it happens to me much less frequently. And that tells me that I’ve improved my perception of people. Second, when I do find myself involved with someone with questionable ethics, I make it a point to exit quickly – even if I have to do so at a loss.

While I said that I can’t give you a surefire formula for being able to differentiate between honorable and disreputable people, I can tell you how to increase your odds of becoming involved with an unethical individual. All you need to do to accomplish such a masochistic feat is carelessly confuse your wishes with reality.

This emotional mistake happens most often when your desire to do a deal is so great that you ignore the neon sign on the other person’s forehead that reads: “LSCD” – Lie, Steal, Cheat, Deceive. The only antidote I know for avoiding this mistake is to be relentlessly vigilant when it comes to not allowing your desires to override what your eyes, ears, and gut tell you.

All this may seem far removed from the phenomenon of recovered memory syndrome, but it’s not. RMS is often nothing more than a false perception of reality brought about by the power of suggestion. And that same power of suggestion, whether it comes from someone else or is self-administered, can lead to false perceptions in any area of life.

Which is why it’s incumbent upon you to become adept at distinguishing between reality and illusion. A false perception of reality – regardless of the cause – automatically leads to failure. An accurate perception of reality doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s an excellent first step in the right direction.

You can’t put too much conscious effort into sharpening your perception of reality. It’s mentally hard work, but everything worthwhile is hard. The more you’re willing to pay the price of vigilance in this area, the more often you’ll find yourself enjoying the benefits.

[Ed. Note: If you’re ready for a treasure chest of proven ideas, strategies, and techniques that are guaranteed to dramatically improve your dealmaking skills – and, in the process, increase your income many times over – you won’t want to miss Robert Ringer’s bestselling audio series, A Dealmaker’s Dream.

Robert Ringer is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. His recently released work, Restoring the American Dream: The Defining Voice in the Movement for Liberty, is a clarion call to liberty-loving citizens to take back the country. Ringer has appeared on numerous national talk shows and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron’s, and The New York Times. To sign up for his e-letter, A Voice of Sanity in an Insane World, visit www.robertringer.com.]

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  • KC

    Robert,

    Your article hit home or me this morning, and was comforting in a way, as I have just exited a deal with an unethical operator.

    I’ve been kicking myself for not seeing it earlier, but was wrapped-up in the dream, and forgot reality. The comforting part was recognizing that I am not the only one this happens to, and that moving forward after learning this lesson and applying what I have learned to deals in the future, will only help me.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts…

    KC