When I was a student, there was a girl in the swim team. She was beautiful.
But she never really spoke to anyone. We all thought she wanted to keep to herself and had a hidden clique of equally beautiful and cool friends she'd rather be with.
We thought she just came to swim.
Until she came out on my final years sports ball (Always an interesting affair, since teams wore their respective sports kits. We made it respectable by wearing our training tops and baggy swim shorts - skin tight lycra wasn't a good look even in 1996).
As is traditional, the beer was cheap and plenty was consumed. By midnight, it was the usual mess. But there she was, nursing a drink by herself in a corner.
So, thanks to alcoholically fueled courage I decided to go talk to her. And the ice queen melted.
Not because of any charm, or because she'd been waiting all this time for moment I'd talk to her.
Now that would be silly.
Simply because I'd bothered. Because she was painfully shy and found talking to people hard. And because people assumed she was the usual self confident cliche with cool friends, no one bothered trying.
She joined the swim team to swim, but also make friends. But she didn't know how.
The only people that talked to her were louts trying to get off with her and other beautiful (but shallow) people.
When she came for training next week, she started chatting to me, and then others joined in and found out how nice she was.
That's the problem with perception. It becomes reality.
What you see isn't what you see, it's what you think you see.
You see the impossibly arrogant, beautiful girl instead of the shy lonely human being because culture teaches us that pretty girls have it all and have all the confidence in the world.
Just as you see people don't want to talk to you in your new job because they're all aloof. When they might be intimidated.
The creative director who is an egotist but is really insecure.
The aloof client, who is actually intimidated by self-confident agency types.
The creatives who won't talk to planners, not because they're arrogant, they're just scared that the 1% of their work that doesn't end up in the bin will be credited to someone else.
Or your perception of youself. "I'm not good enough for that. I'll never be allowed to switch departments. I can't say that, they'll think I'm mad".
Your perceptions and beliefs of situations, other people, and even yourself, are based on past experience, cultural conditioning and past experience.
They become your reality. If you want to change your reality, simply change your perception.