How does this happen?
Well let’s say this were a speech about politics, and one person was a democrat while the other a republican. Each person would see facts reaffirming their preexisting views backed by their political positions.
The brain and the eye may have a contractual relationship in which the brain has agreed to believe what the eye sees, but in return the eye has agreed to look for what the brain wants.
Awareness is more of a choice rather than a general knowledge.
It’s like a word search and we are looking for the 10 words listed on the side of the puzzle. Even if there are other words filled in, we tend to only see the ones we look for. We use tactics that hone in on the first letter of our targets or chunk a couple of the letters together as our eyes scan the page.
It’s not that other words aren’t there, it’s that we aren’t looking for them, so in our world, they cease to exist.
Say I took that word search and gave five words to one person and five words to another. Like the politicians who listened to the same speech, both would look at the same thing and come back with two completely different lists. We see what we look for.
Go for a walk around your neighborhood and look at all the different styles of doors and roofing patterns. You probably never would have realized all the different colors, styles, patterns, sizes, and textures. And yet you have lived in this neighborhood for years, you must of looked at them. But there is a difference between looking and seeing.
Looking is like breathing, natural and innate, seeing is whole separate level that requires effort and commitment.
What are we really seeing and what are we just looking at?
If life is a chaotic sequence of ambiguous letters, then our frame of reference would be the word bank sitting at the bottom of the page. But how do we grow that word bank? How do we look for new inputs in life?
Step outside your preexisting scope of life. People often drive the same way to work everyday. You see the same things you saw yesterday. Why not take a new way to work everyday? The latter constantly sees new things while the former constantly sees the same old things.
What if you…
- Listened to a radio station you’ve never heard before.
- Order something at a restaurant without knowing exactly what it is.
- Read a magazine you have never heard of.
- Learn to tie nots, read music, throw a boomerang.
- Escape in nature, and look for plants you have never seen before.
- Take up painting. Jackson Pollock throws paint on a canvas so can you!
- Go to a place you have never visited.
- Rent a movie you have never heard of.
- Read a book on a topic you think you’ll dislike.
- Have a wider variety of experiences. Who knows what new words you’ll add to your bank when you start doing different things.
When you diversify the elements of your life, your awareness grows and you begin to see a world of many viewpoints, and a puzzle that doesn’t just hold words, but sentences, stories, experiences, journeys, and adventures. You’ll see a life that holds the most extraordinary potentials.
Have you ever looked at something a completely different way? How do you expand you inputs and widen your frame of reference? What are some things your do to shake things up? Love to hear what you think!
We become familiar with the scales of our lives telling us what we can or cannot do. Everything within it, achievable. Everything beyond it, unknown.
If a 3 mile run is part of a person’s daily workout, they generally accomplish it with little doubt. They have a resume of successes from all their past runs. It acts as evidence for their ability – known, definite, and achievable.
Now say this person is asked to go on a 10 mile run. “Woah, hold on a sec now. That’s far.”
It is far if you’ve been used to 3 mile runs, but if you’re a person training for a marathon, 10 miles is a breeze.
It’s all about the context of the situation and the scales you have built in your life. They tell you what you can do just as much as they tell you what you cannot.
Think about all the scales in your life. Money, friends, enjoyment, exercise, success, creativity, knowledge, all set to a scale, our scale. I make x amount of money, I have y number of friends, I exercise that much, I’m this creativity. We fulfill these expectations for ourselves, but we have trouble surpassing them.
I say change your scale, shift your context. Be unrealistic, be unreasonable. If you expect to run 10 miles everyday, even if you only get 5 or 6, it still makes that 3 miles a breeze.
Soon you set a new scale for yourself. You start gathering new evidence, accomplishing new things.
Everything you have done has currently gotten you to where you are. The context of your life shows all your current known abilities. Raise that bar.
Everything done this far is known, because it is past. The goals you set for the future can fall in line with your current context or they can be completely unrealistic in comparison.
Some would say it’s not good to be unreasonable or unrealistic. But when you’re reasonable you use the same strategies that worked before, the same scales that you know you will find success in.
If you set the bar high for yourself, if you embrace different strategies, set different goals, look at things with a new perspective you will breakthrough to new areas of your life.
Don’t live life to scale, that just isn’t realistic.
Karl Duncker, a Gestalt psychologist, set up an experiment testing the ingenuity of the human mind. On a table he placed a box of tacks, a book of matches, and a candle. The objective, attach the candle to the wall. Participants eyed down the materials. Some tried to use the tacks to fasten the candle to the wall. Not bad, but not successful. Others stepped up their game, trying to melt the candle to the wall by burning the wax. Still no call for celebration.
Not until they stretched their minds and overcame their fixed mindsets were participants able to crack this riddle. If you no longer see the box of tacks as solely a holder for those tacks, but also a means to attach the candle to the wall, then you are utilizing something we call creativity, a means of using ones imagination to create original ideas.
Life is context. We want what surounds us. We perceive ourselves to be unhappy if we do not have what is considered adequate in comparison to the status quo. Even after that, the desire for more is like an itch in that one spot we cannot reach.
It is no longer about the satiation of your desire, but about what is societally necessary for you to achieve the status of happiness. For that is all this pseudo joy really is, a point in status when you have earned enough to be happy. The thing is we believe it, we believe it so much, that it becomes rooted in us – a hankering desire, an endless lust.
What if we were to switch up our situational conditions. Take the modern day context of our lives and throw it into a different environment, heck, a different era in time. Most people live with as many modern day luxurious as a prince did 2,500 years ago.
It was a cold winter day. A sporadic ray of sunshine barely escaped the dull, ominous, grey winter sky. The chilly breeze had a habit of striking right through your winter coat. Just as you tilt your head back in response to the cold, wet, residue that struck the tip of your nose you see a tiny little snow flake beginning to drift down from the sky. Then another, and another. Soon the entire sky is filled with falling snowflakes. One moment clear sky, the next, infinite whiteness. It might have been 33 degrees prior and now it was 31 degrees. Almost nothing had changed, but everything had changed. Rain had become snow!
Malcolm Gladwell writes in The Tipping Point how little things can make a big difference. The tipping point itself being that point when rain turns to snow, an idea turns into an epidemic, an additional two of hearts cause the entire house of cards to collapse. Life is full of tipping points. Ideas that are on the verge of cusping. Waiting for something as insignificant as a red hearted playing card or a degree in temperature to cause the radical change, a movement that cannot be undone, no reset button to quickly strike.