Did you see the bear?
Did you see the bear?
Do you remember the video of players passing a basketball to each other, asking you to count the number of passes?
If not, watch this before you keep reading:
Did you see the moonwalking bear?
If not, you’re in good company. Unless you knew what you were looking for, almost half of the people who watched that video didn’t see it.
When you know there is a moonwalking bear, it’s impossible not to see it. Psychologists refer to this as “inattentional blindness”, missing obvious things right in front of us if we’re not looking for them.
On the flip side, when you look for something specific, you see it all of the time. Time to buy a new car? When you decide on the make and model you want, you’ll start to see that car everywhere.
Between our brain’s negativity bias, our propensity to magnify the negative and minimize the positive, and inattentional blindness, we are missing a huge percentage of the positive moments and experiences in our lives. Throw in 24 hour news coverage and social media, and you have a recipe for cynicism, frustration, and anxiety.
Fortunately, you have a superpower that can change the way you see the world. Experience-dependent neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to change based on your experiences. Our brain is continually growing and changing well into our nineties.
Getting better at looking for, savoring, and sharing good experiences inclines your mind in that direction. Research has found that keeping a gratitude journal or thinking of 3 good things that happened each day forces you to scan for the positives.Those that did this repeatedly for a week were happier, more grateful, and had higher levels of optimism than those that didn’t, even after they stopped the exercise.
This doesn’t mean you wear rose colored glasses and pretend like the negatives aren’t out there, but you can wear gratitude glasses and find the good within it.
Just like you probably have a “to-do” list, make a list of the good things about your job, your relationships, and your life. I have a sign on my bathroom mirror that says, “What will you look for today?” as a reminder to look for the good things in life.
When you make it your intention to find kindness, compassion, humor, and goodness, you are way more likely to find it.
Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.
Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love & Work and Strong Enough: Choosing Courage, Resilience and Triumph.