Keep your eye on the ball - An experiment
Your goal while watching a 30 second video is to accurately count the number of times people in white shirts pass a basketball to each other. Watch closely. Again, your goal is to accurately count the number of times a basketball is passed between people in white shirts. That's it.
After you've watched the video and have your answer about the correct number of passes between people in white shirts, scroll down the page to see if you were correct.
Here's the link:
How many passes did you count? 10? 11? 12? 13? 14? 15? 20? Are you sure? If not, go back and watch one more time. Are you sure of your number?
The answer is 15
Now answer this question - Did you see the gorilla? Yes, I'm serious. Did you see the gorilla? There is a gorilla in the video. If you don't believe it's there - go back and watch again. The gorilla is really there. Some people have to watch multiple times to see it, but it is indeed on the screen.
Why didn't you see the gorilla? Because you were focused on something else - something you perceived as more important. You were told what to focus on and you did it. You were told what "really" mattered. The result - and it happens to most people - you missed something obvious and noteworthy.
In this time of serious budget cuts and economic challenges, everyone has turned into an accountant. We're all watching numbers, focused on the bottom line. It seems as if it's all we care about. That singular focus may cause us to miss fairly obvious things - opportunities and ideas that we might more easily recognize in a different environment.
As you think about the challenges you face, budgetary or otherwise, don't be so narrowly focused that you miss the gorillas in your midst.