It’s all about Perception!
It’s her turn now. The wait for her was long. It was the longest day of her life and here came the announcement Contestant number 43212.
She walks on to the stage of Britain’s Got Talent Season 3, not very beautifully dressed neither worried about the fact that she is about to face the most critical judges of the show nor really anxious about being watched across the globe.
Here she is, facing a large hall full of audience, most of them half of her age.
One of the judges asked: “What’s your name lady?”
“Susan Boyle” came to the response.
Judge: “Where are you from?”
She fumbles and fumbles again before she could complete her response, you could hear the audience booing and judges nodding their head in despair.
The next judge asks, “How old are you?”
“I am 47,” she said. After a long pause filled with booing and laughter of the audience, she says “that’s just one side of it”. Her statement raised the eyebrows of the judges and few others in the hall. After all, she looked very plain and had just made a statement which was probably the opposite of what she looked and also she sounded a little overconfident.
She said “I am trying to be a professional singer and want to be as successful as Elaine Paige” (*Elaine Paige is an English singer and actress best known for her work in musical theatre)
The judges smiled and she was almost ridiculed by the audience.
Everyone had built a perception based on Susan’s plain homely appearance and contrasting high aspirations.
Fighting all odds was Susan. Very few knew that she was diagnosed with having learning difficulties. Susan had a difficult childhood and was bullied as a child and was nicknamed “Susie Simple” at school.
Susan’s first performance “I Dreamed a Dream” was widely reported and millions of people viewed the video on YouTube. Elaine Paige (Susan’s role model) called her “a role model for everyone who has a dream”.
REST IS HISTORY!!
She became one of the most famous singers ever. Her journey to stardom started only at the age of 47 and it is still on. The wait was really long.
Susan after her success says “Modern society is too quick to judge people on their appearances. […] There is not much you can do about it; it is the way they think; it is the way they are. But maybe this could teach them a lesson, or set an example.”
She also says “I know what they were thinking, but why should it matter as long as I can sing?”.
Well, we all create perceptions about others around us. The minute we see them, the moment we interact with them and surprisingly most of the times even without knowing them.
Whats most intriguing is who has to be blamed for this? Is it you, me or the society that you and I have created?
I am reminded of a friend who would pass snappy comments on everyone around without knowing or understanding the impact of it. His comments would immediately grab others attention and many times would compel others to think and make judgments based on his comments. This I call as the Virus spread by him, which soon infects others. Some prefer to overlook the snappy comments to remain uninfected and many remain judgmental. It is important for us to stay away from such viruses.
It’s very difficult to highlight one reason which influences the perception ability of an individual.
If the question is, is there a right way or a wrong way to perceive? The answer would again be an individual’s perception.
I recollect another incident shared by a friend a couple of weeks back. As per her, she always had a very keen observational skill, she was always appreciated and was told that the kind of “Eye to detail” she holds is very rare. However, sooner she realized that people started distancing her coz she would identify the corrections needed in the documents, processes, reports, etc.., and named her as “fault finder”. She was really furious and was confused as to what was real.
The question she had was “What was real?”
There is no such thing as reality unless it is backed up with data points, otherwise, it is only ‘your’ version which essentially is your perception. In her case, both can be true and both can be false as well.
In my opinion, before building any perception we need the Knowledge and be observant about our own self-concept which influences our ability to perceive anything around us.
Knowledge – the amount of knowledge we have of someone may change the way we perceive his or her behaviors, (if you know that your friend is stressed out over family problems you might overlook her snappy comments)
Self- concept – the way we see ourselves influences the way that we perceive others, (if someone has a negative self-image they may perceive another person’s messages negatively)
While we are quick at making a judgment what we do not realize is by making judgments we are limiting our experience with others or limiting their experience with us.
Perceptions are necessary in order to define those that we know in relation to us. However, we must refresh and challenge our perceptions or they could become our self-fulfilling prophecies.
We all approach the world with our own set of perceptions shaped by who we are and who we have been. Being tolerant and open-minded to how perceptions of others differ from our own can widen our own experiences and perceptions and provide limitless possibilities for growth and discovery.
–Ability or Disability is also a matter of perception.
Note: Information Source On Susan Boyle is based on various articles read online.