Have you ever had the situation where you’ve seen something “new” about your environment or an object, but then realised that thing was there all along? Why hadn’t you seen it before?
A universal truth of human perception is that we don’t see everything that’s in front of us. We only take in part of the raw data that is around us. We might think we see everything, but we don’t.
What stops us from seeing everything that’s there? It is due partly to our brain’s processing capacity and partly to the pre-existing neural pathways that we have. Our neural pathways let in only certain information and filter out other information. Our neural pathways are forming constantly throughout our lives, but many of our major patterns formed very early in life. We then carry those patterns with us in our day-to-day lives.
So how might we be able to see more of what is around us? One way is to have an “open mind”. As the name suggests, it is about being open to other possibilities. This might mean not clinging as tightly to the beliefs and ideas that we already have. It’s also about being willing to explore other options. It might mean questioning the assumptions we have made about certain things. It might also mean occasionally admitting that we have been wrong about something.
One technique to assist in viewing things differently is to imagine that you’re looking at your representation from different angles. So, for example, if you have a picture in your mind about that thing, imagine looking at the picture from behind, from the sides, from above, etc. This should help you notice different aspects of the issue.
In reality, there are endless possibilities that we can embrace. The more we can be open to these, the more choice we have. And that’s a good thing.