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Your Perception, Your Reality

Internal World vs. External World

When you focus on your authentic potential you adopt the belief that your lens with which you view the world is the primary shaper of your reality.

  • Your external world predicts 10% of your well-being and potential.
  • Your internal world determines 90% of your well-being and potential.

When you learn how to effectively choose your lens, your perception of your circumstances, you change your ability to reach your potential.  Given that you have far more control over your internal world than your external world, this is the best place to raise your potential. We are specifically referring to your response to situations via your thoughts, emotions and actions.

Perceptions Are Your Interpretations

It has been said that we are meaning make machines overlaying our subjective interpretation onto everything we experience. We have the ‘know it all syndrome’ where we attempt to figure it all out before allowing ourselves to experience it, resulting in holding ourselves and others to the past. You have never been where you are in this moment now, yet your mind will find a way to make it familiar so that you think it’s the same. Even scientists would agree, true objectivity is virtually impossible. Great freedom comes when we acknowledge that our perception and interpretations have more to do with how we feel than the actual situations and circumstances in our life. Stress occurs when we place our interpretation on a situation, make up (assume) that it is the ‘truth or fact’ and then resist it!

For example:

Your boss emails you to request an important one on one meeting. Before the meeting happens you make up the following interpretations;

  • He is unhappy with your performance on your latest project.
  • The company is going through changes and you are going to get a demotion or cut in pay.
  • He has been watching your work ethic and believes you are not putting in enough effort.


You feel very certain that one of these interpretations must be correct. Nothing else makes logical sense to you. You make up that this is the truth or the fact regarding what he wants to talk with you about. You resist this interpretation in astonishment or feel upset that he would perceive you and your work in this way or that something negative is happening in the company. You make matters worse by talking with other co-workers to commiserate. You are sure to tell them what your boss is doing to you. They then search for evidence to validate this and commiserate with you.

Facts vs. Interpretations

What are the actual facts in this situation outside of your interpretations about it?

Your boss sent you an email requesting a one on one meeting. That’s it. This is all that occurred. Everything else is your interpretation.

Exploring your interpretations is powerful work. This brings you to the empowered place of self-responsibility. The key is to realize you are the common denominator in your life. Your perception drives your behavior. Start with owning your interpretations and navigating your way through other possibilities. In doing so you increase your control over your internal world and raise your potential. You can have fun with this by playing a game with yourself to see how many different interpretations you can come up with for different scenarios.

Play the Interpretation Game

  • Think about an issue in your life that you feel stressed or anxious about. With conviction come up with five different and compelling interpretations regarding this issue.

Coaching and Counseling

Hilary Stokes Ph.D. and Kim Ward Ph.D. have been a team for 20 years, specializing in mind, body, spirit psychology. They are the authors of the bestselling books The Happy Map: Your roadmap to the habit of happiness and Manifesting Mindset: The 6-step formula for attracting your goals and dreams and founders of Authenticity Associates Coaching and Counseling. They are passionate about combining the best of holistic and traditional approaches to health and happiness. If you are interested in learning the answers to the most frequently asked questions on how to decrease stress and increase happiness sign up for their free video series.

About the Authors

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Hilary Stokes Phd

Dr. Hilary Stokes is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in San Diego, California. Dr. Hilary received her PhD in psychology with a specialty in transpersonal psychology from San Diego University for Integrative Studies, a master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in Sport Psychology from San Jose State University. In addition to her ….

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Kim Ward Phd

Dr. Kim Ward received her PhD in psychology with a specialty in transpersonal psychology from San Diego University for Integrative Studies. She also holds a master’s degree in transpersonal psychology from John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California. Dr. Kim is a certified trauma-informed coach and life coach in private practice in San Diego, California. In…

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