Discovering your unconscious topics of interest

Your life is the sum of what you focus on. Winifred Gallager is right, in so many ways. Here’s one, maybe less obvious than others.

Like everyone, I look at the world with lenses on: my eyes. The world I see is not exactly the same as the one you see. I notice things you won’t pay attention to – and vice versa. It’s nothing big, mostly details. I’ll hear a discussion, and I’ll connect that with another piece of information I heard before. Even though I’m not sure what to make of it, I just noticed something that the person standing next to me, listening to the same discussion, didn’t.

In itself, this small element doesn’t convey any meaning. I can stare at it for hours, it won’t flinch. I might as well forget about it. Expect I don’t. Here’s how, and here’s why.

I’ve built the habit of capturing those hunches. As soon as I can, and with as little filtering as I can. The sole criteria is this fuzzy feeling that makes me think: « Hmmm, that’s interesting. » Most of the time, I would have a hard time explaining why I find that detail interesting. In fact, if I was able to explain, it would probably not be as interesting. The other thing I don’t do is organizing those items. I just capture them. They end up being stored in chronological order, but even that doesn’t matter. I also don’t care that much about what triggered my interest: who, what, or when are not always captured. In a nutshell, I try to remove everything that slows down the process of capturing this raw piece of interest.

So that’s the how. What about the why? Well the answer is very simple. Every now and then, I’ll come back to this mass of details, gathered without clear purpose. And I’ll just read it. Looking for a pattern. Actually, it’s even less of an active phase – I will just wait for a pattern to stand out. I don’t need to force it, because I now know that it will appear. Not everytime, but eventually. And this pattern will tell me something. Something I don’t know. Something about me. Something that matters to me. And even though I wasn’t fully aware of it before, it will usually seem rather obvious, with hindsight.

From that epiphany on, I can decide what to do with that new information. Most of times, I’ll take it into account and start paying more conscious attention to it. While keeping an eye on those coming hunches that I don’t know what to make of.

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