Thursday, May 1, 2008

Look away

What is it about people that sometimes we don't see things until we look away, and then look back again?

It's the silliest thing, but I was just killing time by playing solitaire (mind-numbing activities are great relaxation after a long day of heavy brain usage). I thought the game was done, but then something distracted me and I looked elsewhere. When I looked back a second later, I saw an obvious move (what move in that game isn't obvious? ;-) that was had been staring me in the face for several moves. As the old adage goes, "if it were a snake, it would have bit me".

Yet, I had missed it.

Of course, a game of solitaire is a ridiculous example indeed, but we've all been there with bigger matters, haven't we? Staring at some complicated problem for a long time, beating our heads against the wall to find a solution. Finally, we give up and walk away.

Then, minutes, hours, or even days later, we come back to what we were doing, only to find the solution staring us in the face.

I have to wonder what it is about the human brain that causes this phenomenon. I don't have any answers, of course, but it is a curious thing. Just the kind of thing to make you pause and think.

So, always make the time to step away from whatever you're doing. You may find yourself more productive for less effort.

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