When I was a Weight Watchers leader – many moons and pounds ago – one of the visual aids I used in a meeting consisted of nothing more than a black dot in the middle of a large white flipchart. I asked my members what they saw when they looked at it, and they all agreed they saw a black dot. When I asked if they saw anything else, they just shook their heads. I then pointed out the expanse of pristine white paper all around that gnarly little dot, and I asked, “What about all this?” You could almost hear the light bulbs popping on in their heads. The nearly perfect paper hadn’t even hit their radar because their minds gravitated toward that one tiny imperfection.

For whatever reason, it seems to be human nature to focus on the negative in any given situation. At least initially. If you’re like me, you can generally find an upside, but it’s not always automatic. Seeing the good in something often takes effort because the bad tends to jump out and grab our attention first.

I experienced this recently when I noticed a flaw in the appearance of someone on TV. It was a very minor thing, and my brain quickly moved on to other thoughts, but it did spark something in the back of my mind that later drew me into a bit of introspection. To find out where my psyche traveled, just click the button below to read Cheers to Ears.

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