I have a tendency to ignore the stuff around me.
I wouldn’t say that I’m extremely focused, but I have been this way for a long time. Just now at the bank, the teller called my name three times before I looked up from my iPhone. Part of that is my hearing, but not everything. I just pay attention to the stuff I have right in front of me more than anything else. Maybe it’s a guy thing.
Stuff that lays around for long enough can become furniture– effectively invisible despite being clearly around me. This is true for to-do’s, stuff laying around the house, or anything really. I need to be actively reminded of it or it’s gone.
These aren’t the only things that can disappear– people can, too. Because routine is so easily built into us as human beings (it being easier to take the same path again and again), we’ll naturally keep along them until something jars us out of our little bubble. So we never follow up with that new friend, never get together with them, unless we’re reminded that we should (I think Facebook is great for this).
This is why I love little applications like foursquare. They provide incentive, through simple point systems that anyone can understand, for going out to new places and seeing people. (Yesterday I ran into Laurent because of it.) It’s easy to be involved and even provides encouragement for doing so.
Don’t get me wrong. I do realize that it’s sad that our lives need these little reminders. And yet, because I can acknowledge to myself that they do, I have no problem inviting services like this into my life. They make it richer and more fun, which is what I want anyway.
Everybody has these blind spots. We work around them without even thinking about it, ignoring the 10 emails in our inbox because one of them makes us uncomfortable. Next thing you know the 10 is 100, then 300, all because of that one email. You know it’s true.
I have yet to find a way to look at what I do in an entirely fresh way. I was journaling yesterday and that helps– because you get a few moments of reflection that our hectic lives don’t normally allow us from day to day. But that’s my only tool, and it isn’t great. Do you have any?