Our ability to perceive the world correctly is one of the biggest factors in our overall quality of life. Our perception skill not only affects our safety, but it also affects our happiness and our chance of success.

In the real world, just like in D&D, a poor perception skill will get us eaten by monsters and make us miss the best loot.

This is the beginning of a series about perception and how to improve yours. Because I can’t help thinking about D&D every time I hear the word perception, and DFL is super geeky just like me, we’re going to use that metaphor a lot.

In this episode, I’m going to attempt to define perception and give you some stories to understand it better. In future episodes, I’ll talk about the mental traps, charms, and other spells the world is using on you to change your perception. I’ll also teach you some tools you can use to resist those effects.

So, what is perception? In its most basic, material and naturalistic definition, perception is what you are able to take in with your sensory apparatus. It is dependent on the quality of that apparatus.

Just as a quick review, your senses and their sensory apparatus are:

Yes, I know some of these overlap. We’ll leave that for later.

Now let’s pretend you are playing the most detailed RPG ever and you have perception ability scores for each of your senses. If you have 20/20 vision, your visual perception score might be 10 using a D&D 3-18 scale. If you need glasses it would be a 9 or less depending. Reading glasses would have a modifier for visual perception up close because of their magnification.

Here’s a bonus distinction or life hack:

If you are doing a lot of close up work like soldering or sewing, buy some cheap +3 reading glasses. I mean 3x reading glasses – sheesh they put the modifier right there on the label. Wear them while doing that close-up work. It makes everything bigger and easier to see.

There are lots of other technology we use to enhance our visual sensory perception. Everything from magnifying glasses to microscopes. From binoculars to the Hubble Space Telescope.

This use of external technology to change our perceptions is an interesting and fascinating topic, but not what we are going to be talking about much in this series.

Because no matter how good or bad your sensory perception is, it is the internal technology you are using to interpret that data, that is making the biggest difference in your life.

It is where you are most manipulating yourself and were external forces cause you to be manipulated.

If you can change your internal processes, you can make a huge difference in the quality of your perception and your life.

That is what this series is going to be all about.

We’re going to talk about the factors that effect your perception that you have control over. There is a lot you can do to improve your perception that doesn’t require external tech.

By learning these things you will be happier, smarter, and wiser. Plus you will see how some of these are being used on you, which will help you better avoid or resist those ploys.

Some of the things we’ll be talking about are:

Attention – how to use it, how it is manipulated, and how to enhance it.

Meaning – where you most manipulate your own perception of what you take in from your senses.

Worldview – the filters you use to see the world. And any other topics I decided to add in there.

It is interesting that perception checks in D&D are based not on intelligence but on Wisdom. One thing I see in our modern society is a focus on intelligence and not much talk about wisdom.

People all seem to want to be smarter, but few ask to be wiser. But it is wisdom that lets us use the things of the world, and our own intelligence to get the outcomes we want. Intelligence doesn’t tell you the difference between good and evil, wisdom does.

Perception is one of the expressions of wisdom. It is the first step in the cognitive process of wisdom.

Question of the Day: What are your questions about perception?

Let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them.