Perception vs. Reality

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 05 February 2015
Perception vs. Reality

Sometimes perception (Spring is here) and reality (it’s still cold) are two different things. Sometimes perception (crisis continues) and reality (crisis continues) are very much in line. I’m never sure which one of those has to change first for the other to follow suit. Does reality change our perceptions, or can one’s perception change one’s reality?

My perception over the past several weeks is that Greece, somehow, has turned a corner. At least on a macro level, the economy seems to have eased away from the brink, and all signs are pointing to a slow pattern of recovery. At least this is my perception, and those of many others I’ve spoken with.

However, looking outside and overhearing conversations on the street or in the café, I’m not quite sure…

Here is my problem with perception vs. reality: I don't know which one to believe! So, as with most things, I turn to Google for help. I have a bunch of news feeds set up on my internet homepage – from around the world, but also from Greek news sources. The headlines from this week are oh-so-confusing:

Cost of borrowing via T-bills drops to pre-bailout levels

City Hall's anti-graffiti campaign reaches Monastiraki

IBM to open New center in Athens for big data analytics

Benefits to all single-parent families and new unemployed


But also:

Supermarket chains sense worst is yet to come

GDP falls by €40bn in four years

Golden Dawn MP praises Hitler as a 'great personality'


My own strong perception is that Greece is changing. In small steps, to be sure, but changing nonetheless. This perception is also echoed by my international friends and colleagues who seem to believe that Greece is getting its act together. And many of whom, it seems, have already booked a holiday here this summer. 

Perception is reality. Western self-help psychology tells us that changing our perception can change our reality. And I tend to agree. I feel (want, hope) that Greece is changing, slowly crawling to a better place. And maybe if we all started to believe this, our perception would slowly shift, our mood would slowly change, our interactions would improve, and our overall experience of Greece would improve is subtle ways. Thus, by believing we have turned a corner, we will have changed our reality.  Naïve? Perhaps…  Effective? Most likely…

In the end, I suppose we have to make our own reality, and our individual perception will constantly shift depending on where our day takes us. Maybe the trick is to ‘manage’ our perception like we manage our news feeds.

One thing is for sure: this weekend’s perception (long weekend) and reality (long weekend) are very much in line.  Happy Easter to all  :)

Until next week,



In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…