I distinctly remember one of our trips because of the lesson we learned one evening at our hotel.
It was our first day in town, and we had just gone out for a bite to eat. When we returned, we decided to park near a side entrance to the hotel since our rooms were far from the lobby entrance.
When we got to the door, we saw a sign that said, “Use room key to open door.”
Back then, magnetic room keys were fairly new. I knew how to use them to open my room because the lock box is right there on the door. But I didn't see any lock box next to the entrance where I could insert my key.
I turned to Denny and said, “Do you see where I’m supposed to put my key?”
We pride ourselves on being pretty resourceful and quick to come up with workable solutions.
But this had us stumped.
There appeared to be nowhere that I could insert or slide my key to get the door to open.
I even resorted to sliding the card along the area where I could see the lock. But honestly, I felt pretty foolish doing that because I was certain that wouldn't work.
And it didn't.
We were ready to give up and walk around to the lobby when another hotel guest approached the door from inside the building and came out. She held the door open for us.
I thanked her, showed her my key so she’d know we were legitimate guests, and told her why we were standing there.
She said, “Oh, the place to insert your key is right here.”
She stepped about a foot away from the door and pointed to one of the same lock boxes that was on our hotel room doors. It was not right next to the door. But you only had to step back a few steps to see it.
Neither Denny nor I had thought to do this.
Instead, we had looked at each other befuddled and had not been able to see the solution, which was less than a foot away.
We felt silly and then laughed about it for a long time afterwards.
Even though you may not have encountered a situation exactly like this, I bet you've faced something similar.
You get so close to a problem that you aren't able to see the solution. And often it’s right in front of you. Your emotions or other filters get in the way of seeing what’s right there.
Next time you find yourself struggling with an issue, take a step back – literally or figuratively. Ask yourself what you might be overlooking.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help from someone who’s less emotionally involved. That person may have the objectivity and insight to help you see what you need to do. Or at least point out other options.
“The obscure we eventually see. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.” - Edward R. Murrow, American journalist (1908-1965)
“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” - Alan Watts, American philosopher (1915-1973)
"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." - Henri Bergson, French philosopher (1859-1941)