If You Spot it You’ve Got It

Spot It | Hari kalymnios

I’m going to be quick on this one. Here’s my message.

Perception is Projection

What does that mean?

It means that what you perceive about the world, the office, the situation and so on, is usually just a projection of what you put out there.

If you are having interactions with a work colleague and find them difficult, obnoxious and aloof – or at least you feel like you are spotting those qualities in them, then it might be because you are (at some level at least) project those things out to them. Or at very least, the fact that you recognise those qualities in others means you have experience of them yourself.

You might think that this doesn’t make sense, but think about it. How can you have a recognition or understanding of something that you don’t have experience of.

I can’t remember who it was exactly (perhaps Socrates, Aristotle, or maybe even Galileo) that said a version of this first, but it goes something like:

“You can’t teach a person, that which they don’t already know”

In fact, when you educate someone (give them an education), it simply means to draw out from them that which is within.

Think about anything you have learnt. It was either through direct experience or probably metaphor or in other words, relating it to something you already know. When you explain a concept to a child – or maybe a co-worker, you can see the lightbulbs going off when you relate it to something they already know. That’s when the penny drops.

This means – to me at least – that this statement about projection/projection has validity. If you spot in in others, it’s because you must know it within yourself. Otherwise you would have no reference for it.

So here’s the exciting bit though.

Practise seeing what you want to in others and the world around you. Be that your office, your family, relationships or even the entire planet. Project out loving kindness. Project out sympathy, compassion, understanding, reason, humour, generosity and you’re more likely to find it.

Projection is perception, just as much as perception is projection. 

The world, your relationships, your co-workers, your boss, your team – are a mirror for you in a many ways. They will reflect back to you what you put out. And you’ll perceive it as such.

I know this can be a challenging concept. Trust me. I have some relationships – even believing this stuff –  where I come away from a meeting where they have been totally unreasonable, or angry, or whatever it might be, and then I have to think to myself – how did I show up to that meeting/interaction. Was I showing disdain, unreasonableness, anger? Did I assume that that’s how they would behave and so I was looking out for it while ignoring everything else.


It’s certainly something to think about anyway. Just notice for the next few days how you show up with people, your co-workers and the larger world around you. What are you spotting in others? How does this reflect something you are feeling or thinking about? How does it reflect the type of person you are?

I hope this post makes sense? Maybe it doesn’t. I guess the best test to see whether it does or not is to try it honestly.

What do you think?