In yesterday’s meditation, I shared with you a video. The instructions of the video were to count how many times the basketball was passed among the people in the white shirt.
But did you see the gorilla walk through the circle? It even beat its chest a few times for added effect!
Cognitive psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris detailed in a 1999 study that people can focus so hard on something that they become blind to the unexpected, even when staring right at it.
It’s called “inattentional blindness.” The bottom line is it becomes easy to miss details when one is not looking out for them.
That, coupled with our brain’s negativity bias, causes us to really miss out on the positive experiences in our lives. Because of how we evolved, our minds are geared toward looking out for the Sabor tooth tiger to make sure we are protected and safe.
We live in a much different world than our ancestors. Even though there is still danger, it is a different kind. Odds are we aren’t going to have to fight for our lives against large animals roaming freely as we go through our day-to-day tasks. Yet the negativity bias still exists, and it shows up in our lives in many ways.
For example – did you know that if you have a negative interaction with someone that is close to you/you love, it takes five positive interactions to negate the experience of the one bad?
Painful experiences are, unfortunately, much more memorable than positive ones.
It is as if our brains are like Velcro for bad/painful experiences and Teflon for positive ones.
Yet, God created us to live lives full of joy, hope, and peace.
So what do we do? Can we change the Velco/Teflon experience and switch it around?
Both scientists and people of faith think we can!
What if we become aware? We focus on mindfulness.
We learn “how,” we think to think about how we think.
Confusing? It may sound that way, but not really.
If we are aware that we have a bent toward negativity, we can catch ourselves and stop that negative spiral before it goes too far.
It is about what we notice.
Did you see the gorilla in yesterday’s meditation/video? It was right there, in plain sight. But for most of the video watchers, it was not noticed because we were so focused on what we thought we were supposed to be doing. It is easy to get so fixated on something that we miss other things going on all around!
Watch for that today . . .
Do you see the good that is all around you?
Stop, take it in. Experience the good and the joy.
It’s the Gorilla Effect!
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Romans 12