The Difference Between Perception and Perspective

The difference between perception and perspective is often considered one of minor semantics but there is a difference. In order to begin, we need to take a look at the actual meaning of both words (with the help of my good friend Merriam Webster) and how they are closely related.


Perception is what you interpret. The ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses. The state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses. It is not about one thing — it’s more a mix of attitudes and values that provide you insight into an idea. Perceptions are typically developed from our beliefs which are developed over time or sometimes from a life-changing event. When we have beliefs about something, we use those beliefs to perceive meaning from a situation. For more visit


Perspective is the way we see something, our point of view. “Keep things in perspective” means to look at the whole “picture”, take a step back and see things in their proper relation to everything else. To logically take a look at a situation and access the situation (hopefully, before we react). Now to confuse things further, our perspectives come from our perceptions. Stay with me on this one.

Changing your perceptions of a situation can change your perspective

Let’s say you’re a person who believes that all perfect people are successful. In this scenario, if you did something that was far from perfect you would have the perception that you were a failure. However, if you changed your perception of what success meant to you, it could change your perspective.

My wife constantly keeps me in check when it comes to perception as this is admittedly a struggle at times. Anger often times clogs reasonable thinking and clouds the ability to see the entire situation. As does self-perception. My viewpoints and perspective stem from 50 years of living and experience. That’s not to say my perspective on certain issues hasn’t changed over the years — it has as I am constantly evolving. Your self-perception becomes an important tool if you want to improve yourself.

It’s the classic glass half full or half empty conundrum.

Can you shift someone’s perspective?

It is certainly possible to shift a persons’ perspective on an issue. In order to do so, it’s important to understand why they feel the way they do. What are the perceptions and beliefs that are giving them a particular perspective? Once those perceptions are clear you can begin to change their perspective. Heed my warning when I say that people hold onto their beliefs and perceptions tightly so be careful in how you approach them.

The difference between perception and perspective seems visible on the surface but they are closely intertwined. Learn how to change your (or others) perception, and you can change almost anything.

People only see what they are prepared to see — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people see the cup as half empty. Some people see the cup as half full. I see the cup as too large — George Carlin

Please comment below the blog and share with your friends on social media. For more articles similar to this one visit our Self Improvement section on our website.