You have probably heard the expression “we often overlook what’s right under our noses”. Psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman carried out the following experiment proving this point. He gave a group of people a newspaper and asked them to count the number of photographs it contained. Most people found this task easy and completed it in about two minutes. Some people took a little longer as they went through the newspaper a second time to check that they had counted correctly. In fact they could have answered the question correctly within seconds without bothering to count. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained a message, which said, “Stop counting-there are 43 photographs in this newspaper. This message took up half of the page and was written in letters one and a half inches high, yet the people taking part in the experiment failed to see it.
Why, because they were focused on counting photographs. You may be thinking “what has this got to do with everyday life”? A great deal, which is perhaps already apparent to some of you. The vast majority of people only look for opportunities in obvious places. More importantly they fail to see and miss out on opportunities that arrive unexpectedly.
A while ago a young man came to see me who wanted to enter the music business. He wanted me to help in increasing his self confidence. I often see young men who want to become singers, members of boy bands in my role as psychologist/therapist. However this was unusual. This young man wanted to write and produce music rather than play it.
There was no difficulty in helping him to increase his self confidence. However he asked something else which I could not immediately see a way of helping him with. It was this, “did I know a way that he could get into writing and producing music”? I had to admit that I didn’t. Because I speak to a wide range of people I am sometimes able to pass on this kind of specialised information. In this case the answer was “no”. However I promised to keep my ears and ears open.
The client looked pleased with himself when he attended his next session. He had not only found the information he desired. He had also made a phone call and arranged a meeting to further his goal of becoming a songwriter.
How does this apply to you? If you have a goal that you want to make progress towards visualise or mentally picture yourself attaining it. You can apply this technique to any goal such as finding an obscure item of antique furniture, making a career change or travelling to some far-flung corner of the world. Picture yourself with the goal already accomplished. In other words see yourself sitting on your antique chair or flying to your exotic destination.
How does this work by the principle of “like attracts like”. Ever met someone with an unusual name and then found that name leap out at you from newspapers, televisions, billboards. Suddenly you find yourself encountering the name again and again. Why does this happen? Because, you have mentally tuned into it.
The world is full of the things, people and opportunities that we are seeking. Because we use our attention selectively we don’t perceive all of them all of the time. It’s a bit like tuning a radio, you can hear jazz, classical music, rock and roll, talk radio and many other programmes just not all at once.
If you are wondering how my client found his route into the music business it was via the local newspaper. He saw an advertisement placed by an organisation looking for budding songwriters. When he rang he was told that the advertisement had been running for about a year yet he had never previously noticed it. Deciding to follow a particular course of action and then picturing the desired outcome as already achieved can bring results which seem like magic.