How you perceive yourself will contribute to or detract from your success and happiness in life.

Most people call this self-esteem. They suggest you need a vision of your life as you would like it to be so you can move toward success. They are right; however, consider with me another word-phrase to substitute for “vision.” The word-phrase I prefer is “self-perception”, a concept with greater depth of meaning than vision, self-esteem or self-confidence.

What does it mean “to perceive”? According to “perceive” means “to become aware of, to know, or identify by means of the senses.” And the second definition is, “to recognize, discern, envision or understand.” Its origin is in a Latin word (percipere) which means to "obtain, gather, seize entirely, take possession of," also, figuratively, "to grasp with the mind, learn, comprehend," literally "to take entirely."

You see why I like this word? It is much better to know yourself, to understand yourself, to seize entirely and take possession of yourself than it is to have a vision which may be more a flight of fancy than a realistic assessment of whom you are and why you are here!

Let’s take a closer look at how self-perception helps you.

Perception starts with reality. Self-perception helps you clarify your present status. You can never go anywhere significant until you know where you are right now. You may dream about becoming a millionaire in one year or starting a business in six months, but unless you have a clear understanding of where you are right now you’ll never know what the next step to your success should be.

Vision starts with imagination, desire, or fantasy; self-perception starts with reality.

Perception adds specifics to your view of self and your view of your future. An honest perception of yourself requires you to set specific goals that lead you to achieve your purpose.

When I was a young man, God called me to be a missionary to Africa. The call caused some significant changes in the lives of my young family and me. The reality was I could leave for Africa only if I had certain credentials and sufficient financial support. We were told the financial support and proper documents could take up to two years to organize. Everything had to be in place before we stepped foot on an airplane to fulfill the call. Our vision was to be missionaries. Our perception told us some very specific things had to be done to realize the vision.

Perception keeps you focused on the next thing while vision can keep you way far out in the sweet by-and-by. Perception keeps you moving forward toward your goal, and keeps asking the question: What needs to be done next. Vision makes you feel good; perception requires you think, plan and execute.

Honest, clear self-perception will lead you to a better you. It will reveal your real strengths, your finest assets, your most valuable resources, and your greatest worth. It will show you who you are and why you are hear and then empower you to action.

Self-perception is more comprehensive, more powerful and more life-impacting than self-image or self-esteem.

How do you perceive yourself? Think about it.

Your comments and shares are appreciated!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ron Ross (B.A., M.Div., D.Th.), author/speaker/publisher.For more from Dr. Ross please visit his site: