I watched a documentary the other day about the ability to focus and how the brain works when doing so. It showed a scene and asked me, the viewer, to count how many times one particular child in the background jumped on the trampoline, while the other children ran directly in front of the camera.
It was a bit of a free-for-all but I focused intently on the jumping child.
I was determined to not be distracted.
At the end of the ‘test’, they said if you counted eleven jumps, then you were right. I was quite pleased with myself as I had counted off 11 in the middle of all that confusion.
Then they asked if I had noticed the GORILLA that had walked onto the set, in plain view of the camera, while the trampoline jumping was happening.
Whaaaat? A GORILLA? I would have sworn that no gorilla was there but then…I wasn’t looking for one. In the replay, there was that mock gorilla, plain as day.
All this is to say, we humans tend to see exactly what we are focused on and nothing else.
I find this trait helpful when doing positive things.
Like when I’m painting.
I’m very focused, and it works to elevate my mind and my spirit. Whatever thing I may be worried about fades away, and the only thing that exists is the creating that is taking place.
The flip side to this is when I focus on problems or the latest worry du jour. Everything else fades away. Hope, possibility, answers, miracles are virtually impossible to see. The only thing that seems to exist is the worry and fear that is taking place.
What I choose to focus on impacts my life in big and small ways, in hopeful and hopeless ways. The key thing is the choice.
The ‘what am I looking for’ piece of life’s puzzle.
My takeaway from all this?
Focus on what you love about your painting, and you’ll find more to love.
Focus on what makes you happy, and you’ll find more happy knocking on your door.
Focus on beauty, and you will see more and more and more of it!
What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.
~ John Lubbock
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