Almost two decades had passed since I last saw Leroy. So when we finally met to catch up no topic was off limits. We spoke about all kinds of things. Our conversation eventually steered itself towards the subject of perception and how it informs our beliefs and actions. I told Leroy about an experience a mutual friend of ours, Norman, had.

Norman lost the charging cable belonging to his so - called smart phone’s external power-pack. (Actually, carelessness on his part caused him to lose it; but that is a totally different story). The standard phone cable wasn't compatible. Norman could have easily taken off the external power-pack and relied solely on the built in battery. But as most, if not, everyone knows, so-called “smart phones” suck power. And the way Norman used his device, he definitely needed additional power.

Norman searched the website of the power-pack's manufacturer, with the hopes of finding a replacement cable that he could purchase. He found it; but it wasn’t cheap. Price, however, wasn’t a concern. The time it took to receive the accessory, if purchased directly from the manufacturer’s website, was of concern. For it would take up to several days. Norman needed*a cord, and he wanted* it fast. Relieving his inconvenience was priority. What to do?

It was a bold move, but Norman went back to the store where he originally purchased the phone and power-pack, thinking the accessory just might be available. That’s where things got interesting, to say the least.

“Contact the power-pack’s manufacturer. They’ll send you a replacement - at ‘no charge,’” the sales rep told Norman. This rep is absolutely wrong, Norman thought. He was sure of this. I asked Norman what made him think the sales rep's statement was incorrect. “You break you pay,” Norman told me. What Norman really meant was that no company is going to give away something when the customer is at fault for a product’s loss or damage. Norman also saw the replacement cable being advertised for sale (not free) on the manufacturer’s website. This further fortified his belief. So he was ready to pay. Every attempt to correct what the sales rep said only created increased friction between them. Each took a firm position, standing by what they said – and rightfully believed.

But somebody had to “blink,” so to speak, sooner or later. Norman did. Why? It was useless holding this stalemate. Besides, the salesperson’s conviction intrigued Norman. But most of all Norman wanted to prove the salesperson wrong. So he went to a nearby coffee shop and placed a call to the power-pack manufacturer’s customer service department.

Surprise…the salesperson was right! “How?” Norman thought. Why advertise something for sale when a call can get you the same product – at no charge?... Questions bombarded Norman’s mind. But he never bothered finding the answers. Getting a replacement charge cord was more important. But time was the only trade-off. That was fine though. Obtaining the cord by any means was important.

Here’s the interesting thing: Leroy and I met again several days later and he tells me about his recent coffee and muffin experience:... Getting a cup of coffee and a whole-wheat muffin from his favorite coffee cart was Leroy’s morning routine while heading to work.

One morning, while standing in line, waiting his turn to be served, Leroy noticed that the coffee-cart’s pastry showcase was almost empty. He didn't see his favorite pastry on display either. Everything must already have been sold before he arrived, Leroy thought, which was a surprise to him. For this had never happened before. But there’s a first time for everything he thought. So Leroy just ordered coffee and went on his way.

Leroy then said the story I told him about Norman’s charge cord experience flashed into his mind, causing him to stop, turn around and ask the coffee cart's server if he had any whole-wheat muffins. Yes! The coffee cart's server had them. But a sudden rush of customers demanding coffee delayed him from re-stocking the display case before Leroy arrived.

These are two different stories and experiences; yet, a theme connects them. Norman, accepting responsibility for losing his charge cord, and seeing it advertised for a price meant he was expected to pay for the replacement cord. Makes sense, right? Leroy, not seeing the whole-wheat muffin in the coffee cart's showcase meant that none was available. Makes sense, right?

The point is what we perceive to be reality sometimes isn't. We can become so rigid that no other points of views can enter our mind when we think we are certain about something, and we think have supporting evidence. This rigidity can prove useful sometimes; at other times we can miss opportunities, because this focus “blinds” us from prospects existing within our periphery. Knowing that options are available give us the power to choose the best or appropriate one(s). It’s worth it then to pay attention to ourselves and notice when we are so “convinced” of something, and are unwilling to yield to other perspectives. It’s worth it then to “loosen” rigidity, allowing another point of view to enter. Just to see what happens.

Quoting Dr. Richard Bandler, “Are you sure enough to be unsure!”

*--“Needs” and “Wants” are two different modalities. Say these sentences to yourself. PAY ATTENTION to your internal experience:

1=“I need a car”
2= “I want a car”.

Author's Bio: 

John G. Johnson is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Trainer (Certified through the Society of NLP)and A Hi-Performance coach. He regularly conducts trainings in NLP, creativity Enhancement and Goal-Setting and works with Martial Arts school to improve their performance in the USA and throughout the world. For future seminar dates and for more articles, please visit: