Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a growing appreciation of process.  [Creativity and change move through every situation you encounter.  Enjoy the ride ’cause there ain’t no going back!]

Change is everywhere.  Everything keeps changing, little by little.  Like a tree growing, it just keeps on.

The thing is you don’t really notice how big that tree is getting until you find an old picture and are amazed at the difference in that tree your father planted in the yard all those years ago.

“Tree at Chellow Dean” by Tim Green via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
This is true of everything and everyone around you.  A day doesn’t seem very long but changes do happen.  Every day, there’s at least a miniscule little difference.

Things grow this way or that as time flows on – a tree, your town, your partner, your kids, your business, or even you.  There is always a little bit of change.  These changes are often so small that they are easily overlooked.

Then, “suddenly”, one day, you notice that everything is different and you are blown away.

And that is how life tends to come at you.


Consider what has happened in the last year.  What about the last decade?  Take a look at any chunk of time in your life and the bigger the chunk, the more changes you’ll be able to point to.

Researchers have had a field day for decades studying how people tend not to notice change as it’s happening, in the short term and in the long term as well.

They tell us it’s just how humans are hard-wired.  We notice what’s in our world in bits and pieces in a rapid and dynamic way.  We pay attention to the bits that seem to be important to us at that time and then we build constructs and stories out of our initial impressions.

Sometimes, however, our constructs and the stories we’ve built get in the way of actually seeing what’s happening now.

A fun book to read regarding this phenomenon is THE INVISIBLE GORILLA:  And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Daniel Simons and Chris Chabris.  The two authors are the creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments.

This YouTube video, “The Invisible Gorilla” features Daniel Simons talking about that experiment.  It was published by the Beckman Institute in 2011 and won a regional Emmy award.

As Simons says, the human mind pretty much sees what it expects to see.

We are often blind to change because we are focusing on something else that we feel is important and that needs to be processed and attended to.

Distractions that occur within the same time-frame as the change, the age of an observer, as well as the use of psychoactive drugs also may affect whether we notice some change or other.


The guys in the lab coats call this mind-trick “change blindness” and, they say, we are all vulnerable to its effects.  It’s an everyday phenomenon.

Drivers fail to recognize changes in traffic lights.  They miss important signs and signals from other vehicles and from their surroundings.  Sometimes they don’t notice pedestrians or other vehicles in their path.

Accidents happen.

“Accident in Egan” by Ruin Raider via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Imagine what would happen if an air traffic controller did not notice some important change on their instruments.  Yipes!

Arguments, misunderstandings and confusion are likely between people who fail to recognize that one or the other of them has changed in some way.

Eyewitness reports about any incident will differ radically from each other and, even worse, may have almost no congruence with what actually happened.

The number of big, smart and successful companies who completely failed to notice that their environment had changed is the stuff of legend.  The “buggy-whip syndrome” takes out those entrepreneurs who fail to notice the rise of some new technology or innovation that makes their product or their way of doing business redundant or obsolete. They bite the dust.


The researchers do say that knowing about your propensity for change blindness is a help.

They also tell us that what you pay attention to can help you navigate better through this ever-changing world.

They agree that you do have to know what is important to you and keep your eye on that.  Some of them also emphasize the importance of knowing how any major change that may occur will affect these important-to-you things.

That could be an overwhelming task, it seems to me.

Warning” by Chris Tse via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]
Example.  We’ve all heard about climate change and increasingly erratic weather patterns, but what does that mean to us personally?

  • Do we sell our coastal homes and relocate inland?
  • Do we stay where we are, but invest in retrofits and reinforcements?
  • Do we ignore the warnings and hope for the best?


It can be really hard to wrap your head around many of the major world changes and their possible effects on your life.  The final acts of some of the really big world changes are probably set for tens of thousands of years in the future.  Unless it’s your passion, it may be a bit difficult to work up serious personal concern about them in the here and now.

However, many of the challenges of other lesser changes (like you working in a failing or fading industry or your kids hitting puberty or your aging parent’s need for care) can be foreseen.  You can probably suss out at least some of the effects these changes may have on your life.

You are likely to find examples and models of different ways to deal with these sorts of changes that other people have developed and you may be able to construct specific plans that you can use to deal with them.

Doing this can allow you to gradually implement these plans to good effect.

Some Smarty-Pants guys advocate having an early warning system in place that alerts you to the need to work out what you can do to preserve the important things in your life before a change that could adversely affect them occurs.

I’ve lived all my life with an early warning system set up by the (American) National Weather Service that alerts us island folk of the approach of tsunamis and hurricanes.  The eerie wailing of that siren system as it is tested every month reminds us that the possibility of disaster is a given.

“Tsunami Warning Siren” by Wesley Fryer via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
I’m not sure how I feel about having a personal early-warning system which might have the net effect of reminding me that at any time in this era of whirlwind changes my life could possibly turn to drek.

Trying to parse out every marginally likely worst-case scenario and then figuring out possible solutions or game plans for a whole array of these changes is more than a little daunting.  (It also sounds massively time-consuming.)

And then, of course, there is the Mike Tyson admonition: “Everyone thinks they have a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth.”  This, too, is a truth.

“Joe Louis Monument” by Amaury Laporte via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


This YouTube video, “Getting stuck in the negatives (and how to get unstuck)” features social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood’s 2013 talk at TEDxUCDavis.

It looks at another way to deal with the events and changes that happen and will continue to happen every day in your world.

Listening to Ledgerwood reminded me that change blindness can also keep us from seeing how the circumstances of our lives have changed for the better.

As she points out, we humans tend to focus on the negatives and gloss over the positive, “good” changes that happen (and keep happening) along with the “bad.”  Many of us are naturals at forecasting worst-case scenarios.

Consciously working on noticing the positives may actually be a better alternative than compulsively planning and preparing for every catastrophe and making an archive of back-up and contingency plans that may never be needed.

You only have so much time in the world.  Do you really want to spend it making plans and preparing yourself for dealing with what might happen if The-Sh*t-Hits-The-Fan?  Some people do.  Perhaps you are one of them.

If not, then focusing on practicing and stretching your ability to stay in Ledgerwood’s “gain frame” might be right for you.


Happiness researcher Shawn Achor is well-known for his advocacy of positive thinking.

One of his books, THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, points out that starting from happiness (rather than using happiness as a reward) actually may work to boost your productivity at work and your overall general sense of well-being.

He also gives practical pointers on how you can rewire your brain so that the happiness that’s already in your life becomes a sustainable, self-renewing thing.

The following YouTube video is a short animated review of the book published in 2016 by Practical Psychology.  It points out some of the book’s highlights.

Here’s a poem….


I am noticing that

I don’t do “love” poems any more.

Not the spooning-mooning kind

‘Bout you and me by the deep blue sea,

Happy, we, in our mutual blindness.

Not the angst-ridden scouring

Of a heart already rubbed raw

By the windblown sands of a broken hourglass.

Not the whining, wailing love-song gone sour,

The cry from a heart lost in the dark.

Not the golden content of love grown old,

Rubbed down by an ocean’s worth of waves and storms

That have smoothed away all the extraneous

Lusts and desires that seemed so important once.

None of that, now.

No more.


I’m noticing, too, that

I don’t do protest poems any more.

‘Bout all the darkness in this old world.

No longer do I peer through the gloom

With spinning post-apocalyptic eyes,

Looking for the spark of some other, brighter paradise.

No longer am I pronouncing jeremiads

Excoriating vile evils and dark deeds,

Invoking wrathful deities.

I have stopped using my head as a battering ram,

Beating against the walls of the obtuse,

Trying to fix the unbroken universe.

I am done with that.

Don’t go there any more.


The passion still sits, burning in my gut.

I can feel it.

(I’m pleased to report it has not leaked out, that passion,

Like some body fluid running down my leg.)


Now, though, it’s some giant burning bird,

Turning raptor eyes on this mirror-world.

Tiger, that old warrior, sleeps soundly,

Sprawled at my feet, snoring.

He’s tired, spent, and worn.

The intensity’s still there, but now it’s coiled around me,

A quiescent Turtle-Snake in cold sleep,

Before the warmth of yet another spring sun touches him.


I wonder if I am gaining

That thing the wise guys call “perspective.”

That’s a GOOD thing, right?

It could be that I’m turning jade-hard, jade-strong –

I’ve been ripped out of my earthly womb

Where the rough and raw crystalline me

Grew through the millennia,

And I’ve gone lustrous after being

Shaped and polished by some artisan’s hand.

I sit now, an art object.


I am finding it….unsatisfactory, I think.

I would rather be ravaged by starlight

And bruised by butterfly wings.

I would rather be riding my Dragon.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit: “Kapalua, Maui Sunrise” by Mark Cameron via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)


Thanks for the visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.


  1. Hey, I really like your poems! And you’re right, so many times we forget just to stop rushing and notice things around us. I found out that meditation really helps me with this. To stay positive, and keep being present in the moment. Also, I like the Happiness book you suggested, I’ll put it on my reading list. Thank you. 🙂

    1. Hey Kristína:

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts. I do appreciate it. I’m glad you liked the post.

      Please do come again….

  2. Interesting post! It is quite intriguing, the study of our cognitive powers. The notion that we can control our thoughts resonates with me in my work as a coach. Love the poem…

    1. Thanks for the visit, Danny. I can understand why evidence that we can control our thoughts would resonate with you as a coach. Thank you for your kind words.

      Please do come again.

  3. Hello there thank you for such an insightful review about life in general.

    I do agree with you that you do not notice Minuscule changes that’s constantly happening around you and yet we failed to notice such things.

    When We Are Young this is especially true we fail to notice changes around us because at such a young age we believed that we are Indestructible.

    Scientist say that time is an illusion but is it really? If mankind could freeze time we could stop changes from ever happening but that in itself is more of an illusion than the conception of time itself.

    Thank you once again as I have enjoyed reading your article.

    1. Hey sonny:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  They are fun ways of exploring the idea of time, I agree.  I sort of figure that the only reason we make calendars is because of our obligations to be somewhere for other people.  It helps us be in the same place when we need to be.

      Please do come again….

  4. Babsie Wagner says:

    Ha ha, I know exactly what you mean about that warning siren for rising water, etc. It is good to have it, but honestly do you have to test it all the time and remind us of impending doom? Ha Ha!!

    I lived near such a siren for many years, so as annoying as it was and even scary as a small child, the sound of it now reminds me of good times.

    Great article and amazing poem!



    1. Hey Babs:

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  You make me smile!

      Please do come again….

  5. Change is the only constant thing and we all need to look for ways to make ourselves better in everything we do. Although it can be very uncomfortable doing this and some people may find it hard to keep up with us as we change, but we should not give up or stay stagnant for any reason. 

    Be the best of who you are any time and make the most of it.

    1. Benson, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  You are right.  Sometimes it is hard on the people around us trying to pick up chops when we’re going through changes.  

      It does help to remain mindful of them and to gently try to help them handle whatever changes we are attempting to navigate our own selves.  

      During times of change, I think you do have to remember that other people also inhabit the world you’re living in.  Often they are the people you care about the most and it’s a lot better if you can hold their hand to help them over the rough spots they encounter even when you’re going through your own.

      I find they often appreciate it and are likely to do the same for you when they are going through their own changes.

      Please do come again.

  6. Thank you for the most thought-provoking article to end my day on. You made me think about how some changes are so gradual that you only notice them in time while others can happen in the blink of an eye and change your life forever, like the loss of a loved one who has always been there for you.

    Living each day like it was your last is the way to go, although sometimes easier said than done. I think if one can try and appreciate every day and find things to be grateful for, then you will also adapt to changes more easily.

    Having a positive mindset is key and finding the courage to take risks, even if your butterfly wings risk being bruised.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Michel.  I do agree.  (Butterfly wings sure are a bother sometimes!)

      Living each day as if it were your last is often touted as the warrior’s path we hear about and which some of us try to do (often not so well).  I prefer to think of the process as developing “receptivity”:  you stay aware of the world around you even as you work your changes and flow with the changes in that world.  

      I like it better because “receptivity” reminds you to turn on your antennae and keeps you immersed in Life-Its-Own-Self.   The “last-day” concept seem to evoke survival-mode reactions that don’t work so well for me.  

      Please do come again….

  7. Mojisola Kupolati (Debbie) says:

    It is very true that changes do occur in everyday life, but because they are not obvious, we lose sight of them. They only become noticeable when pre and post situations are shown. 

    Thank you for alerting us about making an effort to keep our mind on the positives in order to attract positive changes. The self-renewing happiness you pointed out here is profound, every individual needs to work on it for actualization.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Debbie.  As always, they are very pertinent and well thought-on.  I do appreciate you.

      Do come again.

  8. Hello Netta! This is actually a good insightful review about life in general.  I do agree with you that you do not notice minuscule changes that are constantly happening around you.

    I also think that the best thing in life is to be who you are no matter what and we all need to look for ways to make ourselves better in everything we do. Thanks

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, roli25.  I am pleased you found the post interesting.

      Do come again.

  9. Steviejohn41 says:

    Wow! The poem is quite amazing, thorough and discreet. It passes a lot of information and means different thing at  one time. 

    However as I go through this article here on your website, life lessons are expressed in the hints that you shared. 

    I just saved the link for The Invisible Gorilla And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us. I would live to go through the whole series  and learn more about change blindness.

    1. Steviejohn41, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad you found the post interesting.

  10. loveremma says:

    In life nothing is permanent so everything will continue to change and change and change,

    Hey, I really enjoyed your poems! And you’re right, so many times we forget not to stop rushing and notice some little things around us and know when it changes.

    I am so happy to see this content, I love this content, and I appreciate you for swinging it my way.  Kudos for you for your interesting articles.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, loveremma.  I do appreciate it. 

      Please come again.

  11. Very interesting concept of something that I hadn’t really thought about — the phenomenon of change blindness. The example of how a tree grows slowly but steadily is a great way to study the concept. 

    I think that taking time to focus on the slow, positive changes that have occurred over time are a good way to count blessings and practice gratitude. 

    1. Welcome back, Aly.  I like your tying in noticing the slow, positive changes with counting blessings and practicing gratitude.  You are right, I think.

      Please do come again.

  12. LineCowley says:

    It is true how we can become blind to things happening around us that we see every day, that we no longer notice changes and differences. And it is often even more the case with people that have a negative mindset. So I love the video on how to get unstuck for those that are stuck in the negatives. 

    This is a great reminder to embrace change and keep your eyes and your mind open. Thanks for sharing your beautiful poems. 

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, LineCowley. 

      Please do come again.  

  13. I’ve definitely experienced instances where I didn’t realize how much things had changed until I looked back and reflected on the past. And now that I think about it, it has happened to me a lot where I feel blind-sided by sudden change (or perceived sudden change).

    Understanding the concept of change blindness is eye-opening and I didn’t even know it was a thing.

    I’ll try to be more aware of how I perceive the world around me moving forward. This is a great reminder to pay attention to what’s important and focus on the positives rather than dwelling on worst-case scenarios.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective on this – I’ll be thinking about this topic now!

    1. Chase, thanks for your visit and for your thoughts.  I’m glad the post helped.

      Please do come again.

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