If Perception is Reality, Is Reality Perception?


About the Mouse who wanted to become a Cat

“Enough is enough” Mouse thought now that he had lost his entire family to the appetite of cats. “If this continues I will be next in line to be consumed…”, Mouse reflected while he was watching Cat eating his next of kin. Mouse stealthily crept to his refuge. “Next time it will be me”, he thought, “There is nobody left anymore”. He shared his worries with his neighbour, Hairy Spider, not a very talkative person, who kept quiet but looked understanding.

“How am I going to continue my life?”, Mouse mourned silently “and what is the use of living like this anyway..”, he philosophically added. The negative train of thoughts had left the station and did not easily come to a halt. Mouse decided to get some sleep.

That night Mouse had a dream.

He dreamt his skin was covered with beautiful thick velvet like black fur and that he could see exceptionally well in the dark. He dreamt that his friend Hairy Spider was looking at him while he was licking his tail.. This shocking understanding woke him up: he had become a CAT! How could this have happened, what a crazy dream, a Cat - his arch enemy..the murderer of his brothers and sisters…horrible!! When Mouse came to accept his apparent unconscious revelation he forced himself to take a rational approach towards the disclosed message from the soul - he started to search his memory and questioned himself asking “How did it feel to be a Cat? Did I like it? Did I feel comfortable? Did I like it better than being a Mouse?” Being entirely honest with himself Mouse had to confess that he had enjoyed being a Cat. It felt pleasant, satisfactory, being loved and cared for - it felt “empowered”.

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Then he took a decision.

“I am going to become a Cat!” he thought “that is the only way to cope with the situation”. But how was he going to make that happen? Because taking a decision is one thing, bringing this to reality is something else.. Mouse started thinking. He had been able to study Cat behaviour all his life. Thanks to his strong observations and analytical skills he had been able to successfully stay out of the claws of Cat so far. Anticipating on Cat’s behaviors he had been able to make the right decisions. One could argue he therefore knew more about Cats than about Mice due to his life long study in order to survive. How could he make use of this given? How could he use his Cat’ expertise in order to improve his position and continue his life being Cat? Because in the end he was much smaller than Cat and he did not have a lot of other similarities either, except a tail and whiskers. 

Mouse decided as a starting point to focus on copying typical Cat ways of communication. When - after a few days - he could say “Meow” instead of squeaking as usual, he felt to be ready to take the next step. Step 2 was “licking his tail” - in fact there was no reason to do this as mice tail have none to minimal hair cover - but he felt that adopting comparable behaviour patterns helps to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, in their habitat. In order to take this one step further he also started rubbing his head against the door and start building a territory. 

After he mastered this skill to a satisfactory level and he had extended his territorial domain to a suitable width, he started to think about Step 3. Step 3 could be a bit more challenging - he had gained self-confidence and recognition from his friend Hairy Spider on his progression in Step 1 and 2 and his experiments making “in season” sounds calling out at night. Step 3 should show real progression, really touch on the heart of being Cat - what was so typical Cattish that nobody else could do that? 

After taking some time to think this over he knew it: he had to learn to purr. 

But that was not so easy.

The first 2 steps into Cathood he had made with a certain flair and fluency, but purring was a different story! He constantly ended up coughing and with an aching throat. This purring thing really was a set back. After weeks of fruitless attempts Mouse finally achieved mastery of “technical purring”. He had to create supporting circumstances to achieve this by organizing a comfortable environment and cozy atmosphere. Preferably positioning his body close to Hairy Spider enjoying the company of a friend. Satisfied and with a slight feeling of over confidence Mouse decided to present himself as Cat to the outside world - his coming out if it were. He was only looking for the right time to do it.

In his direct environment of Mice there was not a lot of appreciation for his efforts. The other mice blamed him for being a traitor, forgetting his roots and threatened him that he would never be accepted as Cat anyways so that it was all a waste of time and energy. And that if he was rejected as Cat that he should not expect them to take him back again in their community as he had now chosen against them.


Of course Mouse did not give in. Quite contrarily it made him stronger and more determined - confident of his choice and his own path.

Suddenly the moment presented itself. At a certain day, in fact a day like all others, Cat did not show up for dinner. Next day he was not there either, nor the day after, and the day after that. No show. Three weeks later - no Cat. Mouse decided to present himself at breakfast to candidate for the position of Cat to the Master of the House. He chose as best strategy to carefully meow from a respectful distance. The Master of the House initially reacted surprised - but after a short while he became intrigued and started to offer small cheese portions to Mouse, now Cat, in order to let him come closer. Moving forward a pattern and routine started that was mutually beneficial for all. Eventually Mouse established to be the Cat of the House and to sleep in the Master Bedroom.

All is well that ends well. Never, never, never give up, Winston Churchill

If you want to win as an organization you need to let your people play the game:
Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy together in order to establish best results and performance. 

Marja van Soest has been working as a director, trainer, consultant and coach in international Sales, Service and Leadership for over 25 years for a diversity of companies and audiences. Parallel to her business career Marja is a sports trainer specializing in In and Outdoor Cycling. Combining her passion for sports, groups, individual and organizational performance Marja developed a highly effective model on Motivation and Engagement underlying coaching, training and leadership interventions in organizational and personal change and development initiatives: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy. Using this model to empower leaders to build a culture of trust is her inspiration for both business and sports practices.

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