I was listening to a report of a series of experiments carried out to test how good radiographers were at identifying signs of cancer. The participants were given x-rays and told to look for the usual signs which may indicate cancerous growths. A small cartoon picture of a gorilla was added to the x-rays. Not a single participant noticed the gorilla.
As a cyclist, I know very well that we are often not seen by car drivers because they are not looking for cyclists – they are looking for other cars when they check before exiting junctions. Motorcyclists are also victims of this lack of attention.
The experiments also have a bearing on airport searches of luggage. The researchers conducted experiments with security personnel and were able to pass many obvious items – guns, grenades or whatever – simply by asking the participants to look for something else – explosives, knives e.t.c.
So we all have a tendency only to see what we are looking for. If you look for trouble, you may well find it. But if you look for a solution, equally you may find that.
When you are in the midst of divorce, it may be a messy situation with a range of issues to deal with – how are the children going to cope, where is everyone going to live and how are we going to manage financially? It is often difficult to see any sort of solution or way forward. There is a tendency to panic and assume that you need to fight for your corner but sometimes there may be a solution which gives both parties a little of what they want. If one party has left the matrimonial home, the other may fear it being sold but if some cash can just be raised, that might be enough to enable the other to purchase a replacement property, particularly if it means that they keep some or most of the pension. Similarly, it is not possible for both parents to look after the children all of the time. It has got to be shared in some way and that can sometimes work to each parties’ benefit rather than to their disadvantage, if everyone concentrates on looking for a solution – a compromise that is “good enough”. The collaborative process and mediation are different ways of looking at a situation to try and achieve the best possible outcome for all parties without wasting joint assets on legal fees. You just have to consider all the options, including the gorillas!