Missing King Kong

Why do some people see opportunities others miss? In the book Did You Spot the Gorilla? psychologist Richard Wiseman describes an experiment that provides a clue:

Volunteers watched a 30-second video of two teams playing basketball. They were asked to count the number of times one of the teams passed the ball. What they weren’t told was that halfway through the video, a man dressed in a gorilla suit would run onto the court, stand in front of the camera, and beat his chest. Amazingly, only a few of the volunteers spotted the man in the gorilla suit. Most were so intent on counting passes that they completely missed the gorilla.

Wiseman concluded that most people go through life so focused on the task at hand they completely miss “gorilla” opportunities.

He gives the example of a team of 3M researchers who were trying to develop a high-strength adhesive. One of their attempts produced a product that was actually the opposite—a very low-strength adhesive. Most of the team thought the result was a failure, but one saw it as an opportunity. That failure became the glue on 3M Post-It Notes.

If we aren’t careful, we can be so fixated on the mundane, that we miss God-given opportunities of significance.