Are you operating your life from objective reality or your perception of reality? This is a critical question in the mental toughness process and worthy of consideration for anyone interested in self-improvement. Watch this short video I taped in Atlanta at Mental Toughness University and I’ll look forward to your comments.

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Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

13 thoughts on “Objective vs. Subjective Reality”

  1. Steve,
    Objective is defined as of or having to do with a material object as distinguished from a mental concept, idea or belief. Subjective is defined as proceeding from or taking place in an individual’s mind. That it rains is objective, that the Dow Jones dropped 100 points is objective, that 9/11 or the Berlin Wall happened is objective. How I or you or anybody else FEELS about it is subjective.

  2. Seems to me Steve, that objective is fine, however, if change is going to occur, subjective is the only viewpoint to exploit. Without a proper passion, nothing of worth ever gets accomplished. Wanting to see a better world should be and really appears to me, to be the basis of your entire program.

  3. From a pragmatical point of view, I would ask the following questions:

    Will my actions take me closer to or further away from my goals? Or will they have no effect at all?

    The more in-depth discussion on the nature of reality itself is by these standards not necessary. At least not in my opinion.

  4. Buddha says, What is? Be mindful, clear the mind, make the decision. Action no action! “At the end of the game the kings and the pawns get put back in the same box” Unknown

  5. This is pretty useless advice unless it’s followed by advice on how to see one from another. Without that, it is just general stuff like “hey, be smarter, be more successful”. 🙂 Okay, but how exactly?

    1. Stan,
      You become more objective by using logic and reason in your thinking and not allowing emotion to cloud your judgement.

  6. So Steve, what “is” the world? With all due respect, do you know how we as humans “see” and process information? There is no “objective” realiy.

    1. Joe,
      Objective reality is what is factual. It’s what exists. Subjective reality is our perception.

  7. Mr. Petroski’s recommendation to get a personal board of advisors is a good one. Or as you phrased it on Saturday Steve, “Talk to people who are not impressed with your results.”

    Looking at your results is also a good place to start. Another critical thinking question Steve asked was “Am I moving toward my goals? Not by thought or feeling, but by objective measurable results.”

    Another great critical thinking question was “If I took my vision to a banker, would they take it seriously?” I was forced to ask myself this question: “Would a rich person have my daily routine?”

  8. It’s the ultimate question for humanity! How would you know you are or are not making decisions objectively unless you have the means to completely separate your perception of things. Every person I have run into has an opinion, a perspective, of how they think the world works. The lines are blurred often by perception.

    To be successful, we have to find a way to measure ourselves against the real world. The best way in my experience is to have that personal board of advisors to bring a strong dose of objective reality. Many times I get so “busy” in the details that I miss the big picture of what is real. Getting the proverbial “knock across the forehead” to wake me up to objective reality demonstrates if I am not blurring my perception of things. My board has no problem telling me with objective reality what is not working and what is.

    Go get a personal board, a mentor team to help you see clearly.

    I can never be a 7 until I prove it to my team of mentors….otherwise I would have to call myself delusional if think I can call myself a 7. Besides, my results don’t show a 7 yet.

  9. Steve:

    The challenge with this – it’s so easy to think I’m operating in objective reality, when I’m really not. Since subjective reality is based on how we see the world, it’s easy to assume that’s how the world “is”, when it really isn’t.

    A friend of mine once ran an airplane out of gas, because he talked himself into believing he had more fuel in the tanks than he really did, and made decisions based on that belief. Fortunately no one was hurt – they were really lucky. However, he lost his flying career because of that incident.

    It requires conscious thought to operate in objective reality – whereas subjective is more “automatic”.

    On a scale of 1-7, I’d like to think I’m at a 6. But in (objective) reality, I’m more likely a 2-3. Something to work on…


  10. Steve, I was one of the lucky few who were able to spend Saturday at the Atlanta Mental Toughness University and found myself fighting the very same query throughout the day. We all know that much of our decision making is based on emotions and if we fail to address the objective facts, we will likely make a less than optimal decision.

    Thank you for being mentally tough, giving of yourself and helping me to focus my efforts like a lazer.

    At Your Service,


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