Powers of observation go a long way.
Every time I'm not at home and I get an emergency phone call from one of two family members who are desperately looking for something important they can't find, I remind them that knowing how to look is the first step to finding what you're looking for. There is definitely an art to it since it's clear that some people have no problem with it while others (including the majority of the population) will have a life long struggle with it.
According to research, the average American wastes approximately 55 minutes a day looking for things.
The average person will waste approximately one year of their life looking for lost possessions. As one online source put it, considering that we only laugh for around 6 minutes a day, that's pretty depressing statistics.
Not immune to this problem but trained at an early age I feel I can safely offer some sage advice on the topic. Since aforementioned one of two family members is likely to read this I figured I'd get it all down now...
Take a deep breath in, then breathe out.
Realize that whatever you're looking for is not gone forever. No one has come to your house to steal your car keys, wallet, passport, ipad, or sunglasses. They are not lost, they're misplaced, or more likely, they're right in front of your face. You just can't see them for the hurried, frantic frustration you're currently engulfed in.
Slow down. Rushing and looking do not go hand in hand. If you're moving too fast you've probably rushed right by what you were looking for like ten times already.
Keep in mind that rifling, rummaging and grabbing are all synonyms for burglarizing. If it concerns paperwork, which it often does, you actually have to pick up each and every single paper separately. This is not the time to fan through the pile. This can occasionally require a bit of eye hand coordination like picking up papers with the right hand (if you're a righty) while holding them with the left hand. If the pile is that big, you're going to need a system, trust me.
Don't assume. If you have an image of what you're looking for in your head it can actually get in the way of finding it because if we assume, we usually wrongly assume. We think the paper we're looking for has an orange letter head when in reality it has a blue letterhead with orange writing. Or we forget that the black hat actually has a huge colorful logo in front and clearly that's not what we were looking for. Without the assumption of what something already looks like, we're forced to look more closely at every single thing in the pile. How many times do we say, well that's not what I was looking for that's why I couldn't find it. Or we say, how can I find it if I don't know what I'm looking for.
The Art of Looking
Here I'd sarcastically say, you know, Open your eyes. Maybe I should say instead, Open your mind.
Employ only the most loyal family members to help in the search. It will most definitely grow tiresome and it's important to know where your unconditional love is coming from. Of course there are instances when relying on someone else's eyes is literally essential (like in my case), when someone who needs glasses to see far away can't find her glasses.
Well, for me that about sums it up. I suppose there's an art form to everything if we think about it. I also think some of these suggestions could work pretty well for half a dozen other things that plague us on a daily basis; if we consider that breathing, slowing down, appreciating help from others, and positively reassuring ourselves are all good things in themselves.
No doubt there's much more that could be added to this list.
If you have any other interesting insights into The Art of Looking, please send them my way.