Did you see the 500lb Gorilla?

This is a nice post regarding what we attend to in our environment. Lynn notes that when she retired she became aware of things that were present but previously went unnoticed. Other life changes produce a similar change in focus. I’m semi-retired, which changes what I see around me. Spending considerable time with my elderly parents has made me attentive to their perceptual worlds. It’s disconcerting to realize how much we ordinarily miss!

All those days that came and went ...

Gorilla videoHave you seen the basketball video clip often shown in corporate effectiveness training classes, where you’re asked to count how many times the white team passes the ball from one member to another? (You can refresh your memory here -> basketball video -1:22 mins). What happened? How many times did you count? 14? You knew there had to be some trick, but did you get it first time? Did you see the 500lb gorilla? Of course not, that was the whole point of the exercise. Watch again and notice that enormous gorilla walk right in front of the play, beat his chest and walk off again.

This video is rather analogous to retirement. When you stop fretting about counting the number of passes, it’s amazing how many gorillas show up on stage! Some are more wonderful than others. When you change your focus, you see new things. I thought things…

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About Bob Ritzema

I am a fourth-generation American of Dutch ancestry and am trained as a clinical psychologist. In 2012, I retired from Methodist University in North Carolina to return to . Michigan to help family. I maintain a part-time therapy practice in Grand Rapids. I currently worship at Monroe Community Church in Grand Rapids. I can be reached at bobritzema@hotmail.com.
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