Get your head INto the clouds, not out of them…

The clouds in the sky can be so awesome… the way they move, twist, and transform into different shapes and patterns…

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins  http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

the way the sun beams shine through them…

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

the way they can be so white and happy… and the way they can be so gray and daunting…

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

they’re just so magical.

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

One night last week I was standing in my driveway calling for my pups and a change in lighting caught my attention. I looked up at the big white moon (just a day or two after full moon) and noticed the clouds moving through the sky. They were blowing past the moon, which caused the change in light. It was mesmerizing… the big bright moon, the dark blue sky littered with millions of stars, and the big fluffy clouds gliding through the night sky like they were on a mission to get somewhere.

Do you ever take the time to look up into the sky and look at the clouds? They can be such an inspiration, they can be encouraging, they can be so uplifting…

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

Imagine the clouds looking down on you, moving and changing, trying to make you smile, bringing contentment and serenity.

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

Take a moment and get your head INto the clouds, not out of them. Really look at them and appreciate them. Let them work their magic…

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

***A special thanks to Kyle Atkins, author of The KyleCarlandCal Blog, for sharing his beautiful photographs.

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

“Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton… I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by… If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations… What do you think you see, Linus?”
“Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean… That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor… And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen… I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side…”
“Uh huh… That’s very good… What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?”
“Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!” ~Charles M. Schultz (The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960)

Image by Kyle Atkins {link http://www.kylecarlandcal.com}

Image by Kyle Atkins http://www.kylecarlandcal.com

 

Embarrassing Moments Be Gone! – Explaining the Spotlight Effect

The other day I decided to take my truck to work. I was low on gas, so I pulled into the Wawa (the local mini mart/gas station) to fill up.

Ummm…. Which side was the tank? I couldn’t remember. Was it the same side as my car’s or the opposite? I took a guess, pulled up to the pump, turned off the ignition, put the e-brake on, and hopped out.

Guess what…. wrong side! Got back into the truck, started him up, released the e-brake, into 1st gear, and pulled around to another pump. Turned off ignition, hopped out, etc. etc.…Oh crap! (frustrated sigh, shaking my head). I pulled around with the same (wrong) side to the pump. Doh! Hopped back in the truck (again), started him up (again), etc., etc. (again), and moved to yet another pump. This time I got it right.

Did anyone see what I just did?

E-M-B-A-R-R-A-S-S-I-N-G! What’s wrong with my brain sometimes?!? Everyone probably thought, “Look at the crazy woman playing Ring around the Rosy at the pumps with her truck! What an idiot!”

That feeling of embarrassment I experienced with my truck/gas pump situation is known as the “spotlight effect”. According to psychological research, I shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that everyone saw what I did. In reality, either nobody really noticed or a lot less people than I imagined, maybe only one or two.

The “spotlight effect” refers to our tendency to think that other people are watching us more closely than they actually are.

Think about when you have a bad hair day… you aren’t just worried about how messy or out of place your hair is, you’re also worried about others noticing how messy and out of place it is too. Truth be told, from the viewpoint of others, your bad hair days aren’t any different than your good hair days.

Case in point… Try to think about all of the people you know that, when you see them, the first thing you think about is something embarrassing they did.

Hard to do, huh? Chances are you probably can’t remember something embarrassing someone else did in the past. And if by chance you can, that situation doesn’t cross your mind when you see or think about him or her. This applies to everyone else too.

In a study done at Cornell University, Tom Gilovich and his fellow researchers had participants wear either a t-shirt that was considered embarrassing or a t-shirt that was considered trendy and positive. The participants mingled with each other as a group and then were asked to predict what percentage the others would remember the t-shirts they were wearing. In both cases (regarding both t-shirts), this percentage was exaggerated by about 25% (Gilovich, et al., 2000).

Now the spotlight effect doesn’t state that people don’t or won’t notice you at all; only that people don’t process information with as much intensity as you do about yourself. All of the embarrassing moments from your past only exist in one place… in your own head.

Like I said, probably nobody else remembers times like these and, even if by chance someone does, I guarantee he or she doesn’t think about it every time he or she sees you, or sees you in a different light because of it.

In other words, while we’re mentally torturing ourselves over what we each considered an embarrassing situation, others most likely have moved on, so no worries. Going forward, keep the spotlight effect in mind, remembering how much attention, or lack thereof, we get from others.

“Relax; the world’s not watching that closely. It’s too busy contemplating itself in the mirror.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich