Recently I watched the following 20 second “video clip” on CNN. It included a picture of an apple, chattering teeth moving across the screen, and then the words “Facts First” as the close. The following narrative was the background noise to this video – “This is an apple. This is a distraction. While the distraction might grab your attention, it will never change the fact that this is an apple. FACTS FIRST.”

This got me thinking. Max De Pree stated, “The first role of the leader is to define reality.” Paul Harvey often said, “We’re not one world.” Can it be possible for Max De Pree and Paul Harvey to both be right (or wrong)? Can we have one “reality” in a world that is not one? In a more and more politicized world, are technology, culture, connectivity, and social media bringing us together or driving us apart? Do our elected officials think they can legislate “reality?” Can they? Is reality created by the followers, “me as a niche of one,” the leaders, Mother Nature, evil, or the hand of God? Consider the following:

My experience includes the observation that most believe their religion is right and other religions are wrong or at least, less right. A search of Wikipedia included a map of world religions. Also shown was a list naming Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Daoism, Buddhism, and others. In my opinion, these belief systems / faiths differ too much for each to be right. Yet could all or all but one be wrong?

I grew up in a Father Knows Best world. It was the Greatest Generation that saved our country and the free world and then returned from the war to “rule it.” They paid the price and earned the right to lead us into the future. Whether you agree or disagree with their “leadership style,” I believe it provided us with a better life than any that would have been delivered by the Germans (Nazis) or Japanese.

I am on the old end of the “Boomers” – the hippies. We said, “If it feels good, do it,” “Hell no, we won’t go,” and “Turn on, tune in, drop out!” Time will tell if we helped or hurt the world that followed.

Today the millennials are moving into the future and the opportunity to shape the world as they would like it to be. Many call them “snowflakes” who want “safe places.” Unfortunately there remains much evil in this world. The world is not as principled and naïve as Millennials appear to be. Can our freedoms be sustained and our lives protected / improved by such aspirations and such a noble philosophy (even if their “helicopter parents” remain on the planet for another 40 years to hover over and help them)?

In 1996, I created a slide as a conversation starter on change, its management, and architecture. It includes a picture of an apple. The title is: Perception or Reality. The narrative states: Reality is the facts. Perception is how we view the facts. To change reality we must intervene with resources – money, time, physical force, energy, etc. To change perceptions we merely have to change our point of view – how we look at the facts.

I close this slide presentation, with the question – “What color is the apple?” The audience answers with the “skin color” (peel) of the apple on the slide. I then bite into the apple, hold up the apple, and explain the dominant color in any apple is “yellowish white.” All then shake their heads in agreement.

Is it time to close our mouths long enough to open our minds and look beyond the skin color, circumstances, politics, philosophy, religion, culture, etc. of the folks we are talking to or with or yelling at? Reality is that we are not one world yet we all benefit if we make the world we share better!

What’s real? What’s perception? What’s right? What’s wrong? What makes for a better world? Peace!