Imagine arriving home after a particularly tough and stressful day at work. You come through the door and notice that the big pile of laundry has still not been put away. You feel irritated and frustrated.
Now, imagine driving home the next day after a particularly great day. You successfully completed that project you were working on and your boss acknowledged you in front of the entire team. You come through the door and walk right by the pile of laundry that was there yesterday. You don’t even notice it today.
What was different? In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) terms, the difference lies solely within you. Everything we perceive is our own projection.
This concept, known as “Perception is Projection”, was developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. It says that you’re not so much perceiving the external world as you are projecting what you carry inside out onto the world around you.
In other words, the world is a reflection of your inner thoughts, feelings, values, and beliefs.
Your outer world is a reflection of what’s going on inside of you.
I invite you to put this concept to the test the next time you are out walking or in a grocery store. Make a conscious effort to project a happy positive state as you pass by people, and you will notice that you get lots of friendly nods or smiles.
Jung said that we can only perceive what is already in our consciousness, so we cannot perceive anything outside of ourselves that is not us. This is a very important concept to understand and something I teach in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training.
If everything you perceive is your projection, does that mean you can control your projections? Absolutely, and this is where it gets exciting!
How can you control your projections?
You can control your projections by being aware of your emotional state and finding a positive meaning to the experiences in your life.
To maintain a positive state, find a way to look at situations through a positive lens. When you apply a positive meaning to things that happen in your life, it will show through in your body language and in your behavior.
You’ve probably had many experiences of ‘Perception is Projection’ already. Maybe you really didn’t want to go to an event- perhaps a social gathering or a formal networking event- and you ended up going and not having a great time. Perhaps you didn’t speak to many people or, if you did, the conversations were not interesting or meaningful. Or, the opposite situation may have happened where you were really excited about going somewhere and you ended up enjoying the experience.
How is “Perception is Projection” important?
This concept is important because, once you become conscious of your projections, you can deal with them. When you learn from your experiences, then that projection will change.
The ability to reframe your projections- to find a more positive meaning to your experiences- has an impact on you results.
This has been proven with kids. There was a study done where the researchers took a group of kids and told a teacher that the “special needs” teacher was not available and they will have to teach them and just do the best they could. The students all got around a “C” average. The next year they took the same group of kids and told another teacher that they were gifted. That year, the kids all got A’s and B’s, so the point of view of the teacher was projected onto the students and their performance.
This concept is also true about your children, if you have any, and it is true about yourself.
Your unconscious mind will always perform to the extent that you believe it will perform. Your habitual thoughts are suggestions to your unconscious mind, and it will always do what you ask. On the opposite end, if you do not believe that you will perform, you won’t.
You always become what you believe.
How does this all work? Here’s a bit of science behind the “Perception is Projection” concept. Out of the eleven millionbits of information that surround us in the world at every moment, our brain can only consciouslyprocess about 40 bits per second (bps).
The remaining 10,999,960 bps are out of our conscious awareness. That’s a lot of bits!
Let’s test this right now. I’d like you to place your attention on your lips right now. Maybe they are dry, or perhaps moist. Maybe they feel tingly. Notice what you notice about your lips right now. Now, I imagine that you were not thinking about your lips a moment ago, at least consciously. But, your unconscious mind was processing all of that data!
What does this mean? This means that we cannot attend to every bit of information that comes into our world. We would go crazy if we did. We can only notice what we give our attention to.
We are not able to see anything other than who we are.
“Perception is Projection” is an important awareness tool – awareness of yourself, of others, and of the world around you.
I challenge you to become even more mindful of practicing positive projections. This will allow you to shift your state on those days when things seem particularly tough or stressful, and will result in a happier and more fulfilling life!
If you’d like more information on this or have any questions, I’d love to talk! Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To your success and fulfillment,