In Vino Veritas

In Vino VeritasCabernet Sauvignon

Chill to 62 degrees. Pull cork and examine. If cork appears brittle or plumes of wine extend along length of cork, check for spoilage. If it tastes of vinegar, discard and find another. If not, pour into large-bodied glass, maximizing pour distance from bottle to glass without spilling to maximize contact with air. Alternately, pouring into a clean decanter will work as well. Swirl glass and let set for at least five minutes to let the flavor “open up.” Hold the stem, not the bowl of the glass, to maintain temperature.

I first encountered the phrase “perception is reality” in a management class. The quote was used as an introduction to the 360 feedback portion of the program, explaining that no matter what our intention is, no matter our plan, how other people perceive us defines who we are. This is a dangerous and oft-mishandled concept. Consider, for a moment, an automobile accident. Rare is it that the testimony of all witness align and, quite often, they contradict each other. So, if the perceptions cancel each other out, does that mean the accident did not happen? Part of the problem is that the quote is parsed from a longer one, whose source I’m still trying to find:

“When truth is blurred by lies and misinformation, perception becomes reality and all is lost.”

In this context, the quote and underlying philosophy bares its ugly truth. One’s perception is tainted by limited information, previous experiences and knowledge, and agendas (I’ll touch on this in a later post). A perception can be formed without effort, can be untouched by contrary evidence, can rigidly adhere to a set of “facts” that are no longer relevant. For example, a large percentage of the population still believe that we only use 10% of our brains; a movie came out two years ago that ignored the preponderance of evidence that shows it’s not true.

The reality is that you cannot control people’s perception of you, but you can control the data from which the perceptions can be formed. In other words, you can control the truth. The first step is developing and consistently aligning your actions to your core values. Do you value safety? Then ensure you use personal protective equipment when appropriate, make managerial decisions that place the safety of your personnel above material gain, and address safety-related issues proactively and as transparently as reasonable. Perception is a human construct—flawed and fallible. Truth, unbent by lies and misinformation, avails.

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