In my quest to get my garage/shop organized I am constantly moving things around. I have three corded drills that I do not use that much, cordless drills are so much more convenient, and as part of my mission to organize, several months ago, I put them in a container so that they would be away and easily found when needed. I bet I have searched my garage, storage area, and the back patio where I have the overflow, oh 5 or 6 times looking for those corded drills. I mean I searched, looking in every nook and cranny, every box or storage container, and those unlikely places using a flashlight, nothing. This morning I again did a search to no avail, but I thought ok I will look one more time in the storage area and walk in the door and there in plain sight sitting on a shelf at eye level are the drills. I must have walked by those drills 20 to 30 times. They are in a container, alright, but it is an open container and I was looking for a closed container.
When you stop chuckling, note that this is normal, we all do it, in fact our brain is hardwired to do this in the name of efficiency, if we actually processed (thought) about every piece of sensory information that we continually take in we would literally melt down. So our brain filters, in effect we only readily see, hear, feel, taste, and smell what we expect, which greatly reduces the brain’s processing load.
I call this dad’s-vacation-road-trip thinking, i.e. no side trips or unnecessary stops, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, the goal being to get there with the highest level of time efficiency possible. Dad’s-vacation-road-trip thinking may work for your family vacation (at least for dad), but when you are fulfilling the businessperson function it is very risky.
The primary responsibility of the businessperson function is to “see” those opportunities that will enhance your ability to achieve your long-term wealth creation goals and to “see” those threats (obstacles) to your achieving your long-term wealth creation goals. But if you are using dad’s-vacation-road-trip thinking you stand a good chance of “not seeing” either the opportunities or the threats, until it is too late.
In other words, as a businessperson, you have to consciously override your brain’s efficiency protocol to in order for you to “see” what you might have otherwise missed in the big picture. In fulfilling the businessperson function it is critical that you hone your “seeing” skills to be able to accurately observe the big picture. Unfortunately, most of our schooling and experience has focused on dealing with the small picture (detail) thus, as Sherlock Holmes told Watson in “A Scandal in Bohemia”, “You (We) see, but you (We) do not observe.”
So in my quest to find my drill, what might I have done to override my dad’s-vacation-road-trip thinking? There are two things I could have tried; first I could have consciously decided to stop and observe, to “see” all of the possible places the drill could be hiding, rather than just relying on (being fixated) my preconceived notion of how I had stored it, secondly I could have asked my son to look for it, to get a new “set of eyes” on the situation. Both of these are viable options for you as a businessperson, it is up to you to use them to your benefit.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” John Lubbock
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