Our brains are remarkable organs, but at the end of the day, they can only process so much information at once. About 1 in every 100 pieces of information around us to be exact.
Our brain acts as a sort of spam blocker to filter and sift through the information around us, to only deliver the things we need to see, or rather...want to see.
But we can actually re-wire our brains to see things differently.
If you have a generally positive outlook on life, you will typically see more positive. And the same goes for the reverse. If you are typically a grouch, you will most likely experience more negativity in your daily life.
Since we have this ability to change the way our brain receives information - we can in fact filter out the negative, and begin to fill our daily lives with more positivity.
But we also risk the reverse. Training our brains to find only negative, will lead to just that.
This brings to mind one of the most popular and highly viewed psychology experiments you can find on youtube. Most of you have probably seen the video at this point. It is a group of guys playing basketball - some in black shirts and some in white. The viewer is asked to count the number of times the white shirted players pass the ball throughout the video.
Simple enough? Yet during the short clip, someone dressed in a head to toe gorilla costume crosses the screen. Since the viewers are so intent on counting passes, almost 50% of them never even see the gorilla.
This leads us to the psychological concept of inattentional blindness.
Inattentional blindness is our frequent inability to see what is right in front of us, because we are not focusing directly on it. The idea that if we aren't looking for it - often times we actually do not in fact see it in our field of vision.
This kind of selective perception is also why when we start looking for something - we all of a sudden see it everywhere.
I find this most true when looking into buying a new car. When I was looking at a new Subaru Crosstrek, I suddenly saw them absolutely everywhere. Now nothing actually changed - it wasn't like the local dealer started giving away free cars that week - I simply had changed my focus.
It is amazing what is right in front of you when you are actually looking.
What is really amazing about this concept, is how two separate people can experience an identical situation completely differently. Two individuals at the same place, at the same time, can literally see the situation differently through their visual field.
This same idea goes for how we perceive someones reaction or facial expression.
How often do we completely read a situation all wrong, only to later find out, and wonder how we could have ever seen it that way?
I can only image the fights I could have avoided...
When you really start to think about this concept, it can be quite scary.
Too often we see the world as happening to us. As if we are just standing still and everything is going on around us. We have no control, we are simply moving through life.
But the reality is that we have full control over our perception on the things around us.
We may not be able to change the actual events that are happening, but we can train our brain on what information to notice, and what to leave out.
We can reprogram our spam filters to ditch the negative and find more positive. Leading to more happiness, success, opportunity, and meaning in our daily lives.