A few months ago I attended a professional networking event for coaches and human resources managers. The last speaker was the only one who got my attention. To start with, he did not look like an HR manager especially as compared to the others. Once introduced he took the mic and stepped down from the stage to the level of the rest of us and he had my attention.
Once off the stage he asked everyone to reach under their seat and pull out the card that was taped there. Everyone did so. We all had the same card. His directions were “you have 30 seconds to memorize the back of the card.
Most everyone in the room was studying the back of the card. At the end of the 30 seconds he called out and we focused on him. He then said, “Please count all the letter F’s on the card.” After several minutes he asked everyone who found 4 or less to stand up. That was about one quarter of the audience. Next was who found 5 or 6 F’s on the card. Those who stood appeared to be about half of the audience. About one quarter of the audience had not stood. Then who got 7 F’s. I stood in this group. Still some had not stood up. Finally, who found 8 F’s on the card. I was surprised and double checked the card. I still only found 7 F’s. The rest stood up. I was perplexed.
The back of the card that we had been asked to memorize read:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE
RESULT OF YEARS OF
SCIENTIFIC STUDY COMBINED
WITH THE EXPERIENCE OF
MANY YEARS OF EXPERTS
And there are only 7 F’s in that phrase that was on the back of the card. So where was the 8th F? It was on the other side of the card in the word “software”. You see memorizing the back of the card was the dis-tractor. It limited the vision of most of us. The directions to count the F’s were to count the F’s on the card. Not just the back of the card that we had originally focused on. The exercise was about thinking outside the box regardless of the directions or the dis-tractor.
Those who counted 4 or less F’s left out most of the F’s in the 4 of’s. This group focused on the F’s in the big words not the little words. Those who only found 2 F’s found the 2 in the first 2 words that started with F. Going up the count 4, 5, 6 just missed an F or 2. Usually they missed one of the F’s or the F in scientific. Those who got 7 only counted the back of the card which we had been asked to memorize. Those who got 8 heard the final direction to count the F’s on the card.
Are you limiting your thinking by only looking at one side of the card, box, issue?
Are you only counting the big things while looking past the seemingly unimportant ones?
What could change for you by seeking a new or different view of the situation?
What breakthroughs, opportunities could “magically” appear with a shift in vision?