Woman pointing at you, symbolising the concept of selective attention test

Oh boy, you’re in for a treat today. 

I’ve got a quote and a story that’ll knock your socks off.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Winston S. Churchill

Now, let me tell you about this mind-blowing study called the Invisible Gorilla Test

It’s a creation by two smarty-pants psychologists, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, and it’s all about how our brains play tricks on us with this thing called selective attention.

If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s your golden ticket: a short video clip. 

All you need to do is hit play and count how many times the players in white shirts pass the basketball.

selective attention test
(Selective Attention Test)

So, how’d you do? 

Did you get the right number of passes?

More importantly, did you see the gorilla?

Yeah, you read that right. 

A full-blown gorilla, thumping its chest for a solid 8 seconds, right there in the video. 

But here’s the kicker: About half the people who watch this video and count the passes don’t even see the gorilla!

Crazy, right? 

I mean, how on earth could we miss something so in-your-face obvious? 

(Don’t worry, I missed it too the first time I watched it years ago.)

This sneaky invisible gorilla experiment shows us that we don’t see everything around us, even when we think we do. 

We only see what we choose to see, shaping our perception based on a narrow slice of reality, not the big picture.

It’s the ultimate selective attention test, wouldn’t you say?

But here’s the most fascinating part: Once you see that gorilla, you can’t unsee it. Ever.

Seriously, try watching the video again.

The gorilla will be staring you down, impossible to ignore, now that you know it’s there.

It’s like your brain has been rewired, and you can’t go back to your old way of seeing things.

So, what do you think?

Are you ready to start spotting opportunities in the difficulties life throws your way?

Maybe it’s time to see the world through a fresh set of eyes.

Life’s Surprises: The Selective Attention Test in Action

Word LIFE in the leaves, symbolising life's surprises and its selective attention test

You know how it goes – we read and hear stories about life-changing events like divorce, illness, or unemployment, and we think to ourselves, “Phew, glad that’s not me.” 

It all feels like someone else’s drama, playing out far away from our own lives.

…until suddenly, it isn’t.

Before we know it, the once-invisible threat—be it a dwindling bank balance, a cheating spouse, or a debilitating illness—smacks us right in the face and threatens to suck the life out of us.

The “Invisible Gorilla” Phenomenon in COVID-19

Take COVID-19, for example. 

In the beginning, it was that “invisible gorilla” lurking in the shadows for many Western countries. 

People on the other side of the planet were grappling with the virus, frantically trying to contain it, and we just stood by, watching with a mix of curiosity and detachment.

But boy, were we in for a shock. 

No one could’ve predicted how quickly that invisible gorilla would burst onto our scene, dominating our thoughts, conversations, and headlines.

With wall-to-wall media coverage and an avalanche of information, we couldn’t escape the virus’s grip. 

It was everywhere, constantly reminding us how fragile our lives are, how vulnerable we truly are, and how this unwelcome intruder has upended our lives in ways we’ve never imagined or experienced before.

And just like that, life as we knew it had changed, never to be the same again.

Are You Focusing on the Wrong Gorilla?

When you gave all your attention to the pandemic, did you ever stop to think about what else you might have missed?

Like many people, I had never paid so much attention to the death toll until this pandemic.

People die every day. 

You don’t let mortality get in the way of living your life. 

You certainly don’t think about it or talk about it all the time.

Why should we?

Talking or thinking about it doesn’t change the fact: the natural course of human life.

Yet, the pandemic suddenly made me super sensitive about mortality. 

I eagerly looked up the latest death toll. Uttered “OMG.” I shivered involuntarily and imagined just how bad it was going to get…

It started as a morbid curiosity and then became a daily habit.

Then came the realisation.

I was making an already full-size gorilla even bigger!

And doing so made everything else become invisible or tiny, such as:

The Power of the Hope Gorilla

Hand holding a piece of paper written HOPE, depicting the power of Hope

The virus has been around for a long time, wreaking havoc in every aspect of our lives.

When we realised its fatality, we couldn’t do much except help reduce the spread through social distancing.

But we didn’t have to make our lives all about the virus, despite how it has changed the way we live.

It was only a matter of time before the human spirit, resilience, and collective effort in developing a vaccine saw us through the latest threat to our existence.

It stemmed from feeding the hope gorilla while minimising the virus gorilla in our minds.

By dreaming big and aiming high, we can unlock our potential and overcome challenges.

And having nurtured the hope gorilla has made our bumpy journey a little easier, lighter, and more productive.

To further cultivate a positive mindset and increase your resilience, explore these 15 daily habits for personal growth and success that can help you become a better person.

Final Thoughts: Harnessing Your Selective Attention

The hope gorilla and the virus gorilla coexist, vying for our attention.

And your very attention makes one gorilla bigger than the other.

And the size matters, as it influences how you feel: whether your heart races with anxiety, fear, and uncertainty or remains calm in anticipation and hope for a better tomorrow.

Those emotions affect how you behave, whether you stockpile, overeat, and oversleep, or double down on a healthy regimen.

Your mindset plays a significant role in your response to challenges.

Be mindful of your selective attention.

Nurture the hope gorilla every day. 

As you learn to accept and love yourself, you’ll be better equipped to see the opportunity even in the most challenging times and make the most of what you have and more.

If you’re inspired to take control of your attention and make positive changes in your life, consider taking up a 30-day challenge to kick-start your personal growth journey.

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