I was recently reading a blog titled Why We Can’t See What’s Right in Front of Us (You can find the complete article HERE) and was fascinated at how STUCK our human brains can get. We tend to see one view of our circumstance, rather than looking at the situation from multiple angles to determine the best outcome. Because we tend to see things from our one, most common, perspective, it can literally cost us our lives.
Here’s a bit of the text that fascinated me most:
For example, the people on the Titanic overlooked the possibility that the iceberg could have been their lifeboat. Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long. Titanic was navigable for awhile and could have pulled aside the iceberg. Many people could have climbed aboard it to find flat places to stay out of the water for the four hours before help arrived. Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships, people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg.
The problem is we tend to just see an object’s use, not the object itself. When we see a common object, the motor cortex of our brain activates in anticipation of using the object in the common way. Part of the meaning of an object is getting ready to use it. If a type of feature is not important for its common use, then we are not cognizant of it. The result: our brain’s incredible inertia to move toward the common. Efficient for everyday life, this automatic neural response is the enemy of innovation.
Isn’t that incredible!?! Everyone saw the iceberg as the enemy. The icebergs were the biggest concern going in to the building of the Titanic and once the unthinkable happened, the concern became the unshakable reality. That massive, solid, floating, platform wasn’t there to save them, it was there to kill them…or was it?
It makes me stop and look at the situations in my life that I have catergorized as potential problems. What if that “problem” is also my solution? What is the very things in my life that I think are my losses are actually my gains, if I will just let go of the fear and use them to my advantage?
It’s an interesting shift in my thinking, especially as a Christian, to view the world as if no situation is to my demise because I serve a God that works all things for my good. No weapon formed against me will prosper because the weapon pointed at me can actually be used to save me if simply put in different hands.
Yes, the iceberg may have damaged the ship, but it was the inability to focus on the possibilites that drowned the people.