It’s been said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But oftentimes, one man’s treasure is hiding right in front of his eyes.
What do you overlook? The question is difficult, of course, because if the answers came readily to your mind, they aren’t something that you overlook. Why might it be important to train yourself to be more perceptive to the things that you overlook?
Oftentimes finding a new hobby, passion, or friend is not really finding something new, but rather realizing the value of something that you’d known about all along.
I can think of several examples from my own life.
I love languages and, recently, I’ve become fascinated with Afrikaans, a descendant of Dutch spoken in South Africa. I’ve been aware of it all my life – it comes first on every alphabetical list of languages, after all – but it hasn’t been until now that I came to appreciate how interesting it is. I’ve always known about the Canadian province of Quebec, but it wasn’t until high school that I recognized how cool it is that there is a small, culturally-distinct, French-speaking region in North America. And I’ve always had a vague idea of what the sport of cricket is, but it wasn’t until I thought “hey – I wonder how you play cricket” that I found a fun new hobby. All three of these examples are now interests of mine that bring me happiness and enrich my life.
The same principle applies to interpersonal relationships, as well. Many of the people I have become closest to in life are not people I immediately clicked with. They are often acquaintances I didn’t give much thought to until a conversation, a discovered mutual interest, or a mutual friendship suddenly sparked a deeper friendship.
The “aha moment” that occurs when you find something of great value hiding in plain sight is one of life’s most satisfying joys.
One of my favorite parts about travelling is that it makes it impossible to overlook the place you’re travelling to. It’s one thing to glance at a coastline or a highway on a map, but it won’t give you the same appreciation that walking along a coastline or driving along a highway will. No amount of research will give you the intimate knowledge of a place’s culture and physical landscape that personal experience gives you.
It’s a simple but rewarding piece of advice: strive to notice more. The less you overlook, the more you will find. The more perceptive you are – especially to what may seem the most mundane – the less blind you are to the hidden treasures around you.
Maybe you already know your future best friend or even future spouse, but they just haven’t captured your attention yet. Maybe you’re already familiar with a student organization on campus that you will devote a significant portion of next semester to. Maybe you’ve taken a class for gen-ed credits in a subject that will become your major. Keep an eye out and you may be surprised at what you discover.
There are plenty of needles in the haystack of your life – dig around a little!