We See What We Expect to See

dreamstime_xs_58215442If you have done any proofreading, especially if it’s your own written material, you know how difficult it can be.  We don’t see the errors because we know what we meant to write.  We see what we intended to write, not what we wrote.  (Thank goodness for spellchecking—at least it catches some of the errors.)

We can use this concept in a broader sense.  How much do we see because we expect to see it?  As a simple example, I was at an expo selling my books.  Someone bought a book for $10.00.  She gave me a twenty and I gave her back a ten.  A little while later, she came back and said she had given me a fifty.  I didn’t think she had, but I looked in my change anyway.  Tucked in with the twenties was a fifty.  It had to be hers because I only take fives and tens to expos to make change.  No one had ever given me a fifty before, and I was not expecting it.  I was expecting a twenty and so I saw a twenty.  (I was grateful she noticed and said something.)

How many times do we interpret events based on what we expect to see, hear, or feel rather than what is really happening?  How many times do we judge people and/or their actions based on what we expect rather than what is real?  It is important to keep an open mind and to focus on what is truly happening.