Here’s an interesting concept:  UN-SEEING.

If you look at your habits of thought and what you expect to see when you look at a phenomena or situation, it’s quite likely that you will be able to see patterns of thinking that you just naturally fall into.  They’re old familiar ways you always dance.

Maybe they are ways you have been taught to look at things.  Maybe they are ways you’ve developed on your own.

Often, if you can let go of these old thinking patterns, you can free yourself to see more clearly what is really there in front of you, without all the extra baggage that you tend to add.

Theoretically, if you can see what is in front of you clearly, then you are more likely to be able to use what is around you to effect the kinds of changes in your way of reacting to things that might be more effective for dealing with the world.


A lot of Un-Seeing is about developing a different way of seeing your world.

One way to help yourself grow away from your habitual, same-old habits of thought is to expose yourself to the ridiculous, the radical, the unfamiliar and the surprising.  Any of these  can shake your set mind loose…you are more open to exploring when you are facing something for the first time.

In fact, this way of mind-bending has always been the classic argument for the value of traveling to new and different places.  When you’re a stranger in a strange land and you are looking at things you have never seen before, it’s likely that the strangeness will trigger in you other ways of thinking.

“Stranger In a Strange Land” by Andrea Koerner via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
What’s harder is approaching the familiar as if you are looking at it for the first time, seeing the strange in the ordinary and the everyday, or seeing connections that are currently obscured by the assumptions you’ve already made or the ways you’ve already been taught to see things.


Perhaps Un-Seeing could even lead to developing your own thoughts about what has value for you.

Here’s a YouTube video by Akshita Agarwal explaining the paradox of value, as illustrated by animator Qa’ed Mai and scripted by Alex Gendler.

TED-Ed Original lessons are part of the TED youth and education initiative, an award-winning platform that presents ideas for teachers and young people.   People with ideas are encouraged to use it to make their own lessons.  (See the full lesson by clicking HERE.)


If you will stop and look at your reactions to the various situations you encounter, it’s likely you’ll be able to see the emotions and the assumptions you hold that cause such reactions to occur.  Questions you  might like to ponder are these:

  1. Are these emotions and assumptions valid? Are they appropriate?
  2. Are the reactions they produce helpful or not?
  3. What other emotions and assumptions might be held instead?
  4. What reactions would those emotions and assumptions engender?

Questioning your default settings is a valuable exercise that may produce other, new-to-you ways of seeing.  In order to explore these new thoughts, however, you will have to let go of your old way of standing.

Challenging your habitual reactions to a situation can produce even more interesting ideas.  Question assumptions…. challenge knowledge…. challenge power…. challenge authority…. challenge motivation.  Deconstruct core beliefs and see what’s under there.

One great way to challenge the calcified old thought-patterns is to write out poems with your non-dominant hand.  (If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to write a poem about some thought pattern you are challenging.  If you’re left-handed, use your right hand.  If you’re ambidextrous, maybe you have to try doing mirror-writing like Leonardo da Vinci.)

The poems that result from using your non-dominant hand to write them out by pencil or pen can be surprisingly different from your everyday regular way of thinking.


Another way to expand your repertoire of thought patternings is to talk it over with a friend.  Be curious.  Empathize.  Check out another person’s beliefs and viewpoints to see what’s under there.

Perhaps there will be viewpoints that make more sense to you than the thinks you usually think.

If nothing else, you will at least get a good conversation going with someone and, perhaps, make some sort of connection between you.


Sometimes rubbing together two truths could produce a whole other way of seeing that might lead to new ways of thinking.  It’s sort of like rubbing two sticks together to make a fire.

One natural progression brought on by rubbing together two equal and opposite truths is this:


Think about it.  It’s how new hypotheses are formed and how new business deals (and art and poetry and all kinds of gadgetry) are made when you can make a new construct that’s built on the tension between two or more very different ideas.


One iteration of this “Un-seeing” concept is a mindset that Dr. Simone Ahuja, the founder of Blood Orange, a marketing and strategy advisory consulting company with partners all over the world, developed.

In her YouTube video:  Scarcity Reframed is Abundance, Ahuja explains about jugaad, a Hindi –Punjab word that basically translates as “hack” — a cheap and flexible approach to innovation that has been used to good effect in developing countries like India, China, Russia, and Brazil where there’s a lack of funding and research-and-development resources and scarcity is the norm.

Ahuja, with her co-authors, Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu, wrote a number 1 best-selling book in 2012 about this fascinating mindset, JUGAAD INNOVATION:  Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth.

According to the authors, the six principles of jugaad are these:

  • Seek opportunity in adversity.
  • Do more with less.
  • Think and act flexibly
  • Keep it simple.
  • Include the margin.
  • Follow your heart.

Hmmm…following these principles sounds like a good blueprint for a do-it-yourself sort of life, it seems to me.

Here’s another poem….


 The World closes in again.

It always does when people dream dreams

And start making things go pop-pop-pop,

And one set of wishes and hopes

Bumps and thuds into another.

Fireworks shooting into

The night of becoming,

A cannonade of possibility,

Chaos is unleashed as you stand there

Wondering what’s going to blow up next.


Expectations form a circle

All around you, holding hands,

And you’ve got to break on through

To the other side without getting captured.

“Red Rover, Red Rover…come over!”

Feinting left, dodging right, bobbing up and down,

Making a run for it….

Slipping and sliding, squirming in, squeezing through.


So much effort,

When the only dream you have is

Floating down a lazy, wide river on

A barge made of recycled treasures

Nobody else seems to want…

Like, contentment, maybe, and a modicum of peace.


River rapids require vigilance,

I suppose.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Making a Fire by Matthew Stevens via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



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


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

16 thoughts on “UN-SEEING

  1. Much food for thought here – thanks very much for this article.

    I can grasp the concept and can begin to grasp how I might go about doing as you suggest. That being said, if you were able to share some real examples of how you would do these things it would help those of us less experienced with this kind of self-challenge.

    Just a thought…


    1. Hey Al: Thank you for your visit and your comments. I’m going to need to think on your request for real-life examples, mostly because this post was written as an overview of a set of interesting head-games that help us flex our mind in different ways allowing us to open doors that our own assumptions and expectations have kept closed (or perhaps prevented us from even noticing.)

      I think part of the problem with all this do-it-yourself self-help stuff is that if you’ve been immersed in all the mind-gaming stuff for a bunch of time you tend to assume that everybody knows the basics already. (Like me and my tech-challenges where I walk around scratching my head going, HUH? about SEO and other virtual-world esoterica.)

      I do plan to do break-outs of this concept of Un-Seeing…breaking it down into component parts and maybe constructing exercises and explorations that can help move your head in new-to-you directions that might help with seeing the reality of some confusing situation more clearly. So, there will be more on this as I go on with this thing, I think.

      Thank you for pointing out a new avenue to explore. It was one I had not thought on at all. Please do come again….

  2. Hi Netta,

    First of all, what a beautiful inspiring poetry you make! My compliments for the inspiring words!
    I had a little tear of happiness with your beautiful written poem “Moon in Taurus” I am at a point in my life I am about to sow my seeds in wondering how it all grows. I am a Taurus so this poem really touched my soul.
    I really think when we listen more to our souls and less to our minds, we can do so much more powerful things. Because we are more stronger persons if we think and do things with our hearts!
    You are so inspiring, I sure will come back again!
    Wish you a magical day and I hope you inspire a whole lot of people,

    1. Hey Angelic: Thank you for the visit and for your comments. Please do come again1

  3. I really like what you are saying here. It’s a really good idea to break old thinking habits, and get out of our daily routines.

    Challenge your way of thinking, and try new things, but your content goes a little deeper than that, and anyone that wanting to change things up, should definitely consider reading this.

    Nice poem by the way!! Why do we always find ourselves struggling for the simple things we want in life?

    Thank you for this.

    1. Hey BrandonW:

      Thank you for visiting my site and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it.

      You’re right, I think.  Us humans are really good at suffering over our suffering.  

      Please do come again….

  4. Keep it simple. Yes. Keep it simple

    In the past, I was eager to do many things. I was eager to buy a lot of things. Then, my life was fully stuck by all these thing.

    I found that my life is not my life. It had become the life of those things that I want but not really important. I tried to make it simple.

    And now, I am happy with simple life! I am enjoying my simple life!

    1. Hey Aaron:

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  It’s a marvelous thing to be able to enjoy simple!  Good on ya!

      Please, do come again….

  5. Wow. I really enjoyed reading this and the concept of unseeing the normal and commonday thoughts and beliefs so you can open a new way of thinking. That’s the epitome really, of self development. I absolutely love the idea of writing a poem with my non dominant hand to see what comes up and what is hiding in my thoughts and emotions. It’s getting late now, but I’m bookmarking this page for future reference and I look forward to trying this tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Josie.  I’m glad it is intriguing for you.  

      Please do come again….

  6. Julia Kossowska says:

    What an interesting topic!

    The bit about un-seeing reminded me of the old story of two young fish swimming along. An older fish swims past and asks, “Are you enjoying the water today?”  “Oh yes!” they reply.  A bit later one turns to the other and asks, “What’s water?”

    It’s easy to laugh at the fish but I suspect there are many times in our own lives where we do the same sort of thing but don’t notice.

    And then in the first video, I thought the first point about the values of water v diamonds was obvious, but I don’t think I had really thought about the law of diminishing returns in this sort of context.

    The reframing of scarcity as abundance in the second video was quite challenging.  I can see it working sometimes, but I still think it is difficult to think in this way.  Perhaps I need more practice.

    I have enjoyed this article.


    1. Julia, I love your fish-story!  Hee!

      I do thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts on it.  I’m glad the topic intrigues you.

      Please do come again….

  7. I think that learning to view things differently is important part of our growth. Recently I’ve been thinking more and more about exposing myself to new and exciting situations, specifically to shift my perspective and help me see things that I may have missed or not considered before. 

    Working out your core values is something I think everybody should try to do, as it gives you a much better understanding of yourself. 

    Outstanding post filled with insight, and I have come across it at what I believe to b exactly the right time. Thank you,

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Alex.  I am glad it was helpful.

      Please do come again.

  8. Hi there, I absolutely love this article about un-seeing and to be honest, I actually never heard about it before. Still,  love reading about it and recognise some of the things you describe.

    For me, talking it over for a friend always works very well as you describe in your article. When I start talking, I often start ‘seeing’. It is like the information transfers from unconscious to conscious when I start talking it out loud.

    It is fascinating and love all your suggestions and will bookmark your article to reread. 

    Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it.


    1. I do thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  The “Un-Seeing” label on this thing is my own concept, I think.  I’m glad it resonated with you and hope it helps.

      I like your thought that when you start talking about your ideas with someone else you often start “seeing” them better.  That one’s a big truth, I think.  

      Sometimes we have to hear our thoughts out loud and having some trusted friend to bounce ideas against really does start opening up new doors to thoughts we’ve never “thunk” before.  Good one!

      Please do come again. 

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