When Personal Perception Leads to Wrong Conclusions

I was on my daily walk when I noticed an unusual commotion in the street. There was a man flat on his back on the road. He looked unconscious. In front of him there was a red truck stopped at a strange angle. Paramedics arrived and started to work on the man. The street was closed to traffic and curious neighbors started to gather at the scene. Another car accident, I thought to myself and kept on walking, the memory of anther accident when a pedestrian crossing the street was killed just feet from there was still fresh in my mind.  

The next day I came across a neighbor who lives near the incident and found out the details. The man collapsed in the middle of the road due to a drug overdose. The driver of the red truck saw him, stopped his car and called the paramedics. It was not a road accident, as I had initially concluded.

Hearing what went on and comparing that to my mistaken conclusion was an interesting revelation. I made an assumption based on my limited perception without verifying it with other people first. I saw a man lying on the ground and a car stopped next to him, I added to that the memory of the previous accident, and concluded immediately that it was a car accident.

That revelation made me think of all the times that we jump to conclusions based on our limited knowledge and experience while failing to verify the details. There are times when we react or behave in a certain way, thinking that we understand the situation as it is and yet, we are wrong; the way we translate reality can be far from the truth. In some cases, such as in my story, no harm made - as the mistaken conclusion affected no one. But there are cases when misunderstandings can cause serious conflicts between people, organizations, or even countries. These conclusions can ruin relationships, business, and even cost in people’s life.

Our personal perception is very objective. It doesn’t mean that it’s not correct, but it’s worth checking it and verifying the facts with objective sources.  It’s worth it to communicate better with the people around us. Just to make sure. Just to make life flow more harmoniously.