Perception is Reality (except that it isn’t…) and 3 Strategies to Combat this Fact!

Perception is Reality (except that it isn’t…) and 3 Strategies to Combat This Fact!


Happy Friday!

And greetings from Vancouver, where I had the honour of speaking to an amazing audience as part of BC HEAP’s conference these past few days.

And here’s the kicker ~ the conference theme was #professionalselfie!

So you can imagine how excited I was to be a part of it, and how thrilled I was to be giving the opening keynote: But First, Let Me Take a Selfie! How Perception, Both On and Offline, is Reality.’

Allow me to explain.

It was my father who first shared this line with me, perception is reality.


When I was young, I didn’t get it.

When I was a teenager, I argued against it (because that’s what teenagers do!)

Now that I’m older, and therefore wiser, HA!) I both agree AND disagree.


Perception IS reality… except that it isn’t.

In the same way beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is perception.

Whomever or whatever determines beauty is the right of the person deeming it so.

And so it is with perception.

Yet the challenge is, it’s not always accurate…

As many of you know, I lost my mother to breast cancer 11 years ago now. And shortly after she passed, I decided to shave my head to raise money for the cause. (As she wouldn’t let me do so while she was still alive… I had to wait until she no longer had a say!)

And so I did. Now I was working so hard planning the actual event, I almost forgot that at the end of it all, I’d have a shaved head!

It took some getting used to, to say the least.

I remember when I first looked in the mirror I had a bit of a shock!

Eventually I realized I wouldn’t be able to stay indoors until it grew back (to be honest, it wasn’t so bad – and the amazing hairstylist who shaved my head LIVE at the fundraiser, the same woman who shaved my mother’s head when she was going through treatment, which was pretty neat, left an inch or so – and so I wasn’t TOTALLY bald!) However I quickly noticed I became more concerned about how I was being perceived by other people than that fact I had no hair!

I wanted everyone to know my story. I wanted everyone who looked at me in a certain way to know the truth… as it had meaning for me.


No, I wasn’t sick, wasn’t going through a Goth phase, nor did I lose a really bad bet!


But the truth is, people make a split decision and you can’t change it.

And although we want to be able to control how we’re viewed, perceived, judged – we can’t.

So, here’s what we can do given the fact perception is reality (even though it isn’t!)


  1. Focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t.

As Don Miguel Ruiz says, as part of his book ‘The Four Agreements,’ what others’ think of you is none of your business.

Easier said than done, however worth putting in the practice.

Focus on putting your best self forward, and let go of who may or may not resonate with that.


  1. ‘Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.’ ~ Steven Furtick

What we see on Facebook, instagram, you name it… is not necessarily reality, folks! Stop suffering from comparisonitis! It’s all too easy to compare ourselves and our lives to what we see on line.

The problem is, what we see, isn’t always REAL!


  1. Be unapologetically YOU.

 Some may think I take far too many selfies. Perhaps even you think I’m a bit of a selfie freak, a total narcissist, or have no friends!

However, my love for selfies (and I’ll have you know I was talking seflies WAY before they became cool or popular… I was taking them over 10 years ago while romping around in Thailand with dreadlocks visiting underground caves and driving scooters… and I had an actual CAMERA at that point, and somehow had to figure out how to fit in the frame when turning the camera around!) totally came in handy when applying for, preparing for, and delivering this keynote.

And I’ll tell you my ‘7 Steps to Taking the Perfect, Shameless, Splendid Selfie’, was a HIT!

I had everyone in the room taking selfies… many for their first time!


The moral of the story? Perception is reality. It is, what it is (another famous father line!) even though it isn’t…

Perception is reality. So you may as well stop caring about what others think, and just do YOU! (Click to tweet it out!)

And if that means embracing your inner selfie God or Goddess, so BE it!


Happy Friday, and have a FAB week!

Carol - high res




And now I want to haer from YOU! What are your thoughts when it comes to the idea ‘Perception is Reality?‘ I want to hear from you in the comments below!


Carol Schulte

Carol is a published author, has been featured in numerous magazines and podcasts, and is a returning guest expert on Rogers TV. Having lived and worked in 16 countries including Ashrams in India and vans in New Zealand, rocked dreadlocks in Thailand and shaved her head for breast cancer, she certainly walks her talk and brings a global perspective to all she does. When she’s not traveling or speaking on stage, you can find her volunteering as a bereavement facilitator, training for her next triathlon, or practicing her serious carpool karaoke game.

Reader Interactions


  1. Philippe says

    Hi Carol,

    I like the “except it isn’t” addition to “Perception is reality”. We live in a world where perception is everything: realityTV comes to mind. But what we see is just a small part of reality. Yes, perception is part of reality, but we have to look beyond perception to apprehend reality; even though it is impossible to get perfectly complete information on any topic. Much to my dismay, it appears that more and more people are taking whatever is coming from the Net as true. Having discussions with some people and hearing the shallowness of their arguments is appalling and disturbing. Where is the legacy of the Age of Enlightenment gone?

  2. Remy McConnell says

    Carol, thank you for last Friday’s article about “Perception is Reality.” This is something I struggle with particularly because of social media. I think I have a pleasantly-packed life full of activities, but then I see posts from others that make me feel like I’m missing out on what they’re doing or who they’re with (feeling left out). I can’t control what’s going on with others, but I figured I can control my reaction. to minimize those negative feelings, I turned off notifications for many of my “friends.” If I’m curious about what’s going one with someone, I can now choose when I want to see their wall of posts rather than being notified of every activity going on in their life. That has helped me learn to live my life for me and to avoid comparing it to what others are doing.

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