It’s easy to go about your day-to-day life without consciously thinking about the meaning behind your actions or the direct origins of your perceptions and beliefs. Every now and then it’s beneficial to stop and ask yourself, “what am I doing?” and “why am I doing this?”
What or who are the biggest influencers in your life?
It can be overwhelming to consider all of these questions. Yet, it is empowering to know and understand the forces at work behind perception, opinion, and persuasion. I can trace back the influencers in my own life to key celebrities, politicians, family members, peers, and academic leaders. I value their thoughts and opinions on certain topics and subsequently derive my own opinions based on the knowledge that I have absorbed.
Certain scenarios will challenge your opinions and perceptions.
For example, my opinion of professional golfer, Tiger Woods, drastically changed after I learned of his infidelity and watched him publicly admit to cheating on his now ex-wife Elin Nordegren. I was shocked and disappointed to see him involved in a sex scandal and to see him defamed. I could no longer consider him an upstanding family man and I questioned his authenticity as a public figure. This scenario makes me realize how easily I can be persuaded to change my perceptions.
Our perceptions impact our behaviours, actions, and decisions.
In consumer society, our brand perceptions greatly influence our decisions to buy certain products. For me, buying products from socially conscious organizations makes me feel like I am making a difference. My recent decision to buy Dove body wash is based on my perception that Dove is a good company, doing good things. This perception has been forming over many years. After watching numerous commercials and reading about Dove’s initiatives to support young girls through self-esteem workshops, I have come to the conclusion that Dove’s public image aligns with my own values. Because of my positive perception of Dove, I am persuaded to act and to do my own part to empower girls and women.
Powerful messages in film and media often make me think differently about critical issues. One example that comes to mind is the messaging behind the movie Blood Diamond. This movie made me think differently about our Western obsession with jewels and diamond engagement rings. I now have a better understanding of how my consumption patterns impact world issues. I have a responsibility as a global citizen to think critically about what I buy and which social norms I choose to follow or fight against.
Overall, I think it is important to take the time to think about the impact of our actions and to make informed decisions. Consider who your influencers are and how your perceptions are formed. You can make a difference.