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Karen M. Wyatt, M.D. Headshot

Why You Can't Find What You're Looking For

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Over the course of my life I have been known for having a gift for finding things. I'm not sure how this happened because I am actually a bit scatter-brained and disorganized in my personal life and frequently misplace, and sometimes lose, my own possessions. But for some reason I am good at helping other people find the things that they have lost.

It seems to me that I use a combination of logic, intuition, persistence and luck when I manage to find the lost belongings of my friends and family. And this gift for finding things has come in handy during my professional work, too, as I am often called to help clients who are engaged in some sort of search.

These days everyone seems to be looking for something -- whether it is a job or a soulmate or a breakthrough idea or an answer to suffering or healing for an illness. My task is to go through the process with them and assist them in their search in any way possible, using, once again, my skills of logic, intuition, persistence and luck.

From many years of observing other people as they look for things, I have been able to see where they might be going wrong in their search process. Here are some of the insights I have gleaned from this work that might help you understand why you can't find what you're looking for in life:

1. You give up too quickly.
The main reason I am successful at finding things for other people is that I begin the search at the point where they have decided to give up. I have the benefit of knowing where they have looked and what they have tried and so I can focus instead on all the places they haven't considered.

The key to finding what you want is to get to the point where you feel you absolutely cannot go on looking for another moment -- and then find a way to carry on with the search anyway. Most often that extra effort creates the "tipping point" and you will be rewarded if you keep going and don't give up.

2. You are looking in the wrong place.
Recently my husband lost one of his skis when he fell while skiing in deep powder snow. He and his friend looked for the ski for nearly two hours before giving up, assuming that it was buried somewhere on the mountainside and couldn't be retrieved until spring. But I insisted that he go back to that same run the next day and look one more time. I knew that he would have a different perspective when he skied down to that spot from higher up the mountain. Sure enough, the ski was laying right on top of the snow, in plain sight, but about 15 feet from where he had been looking. He hadn't realized that the ski had flown through the air during his fall and was outside his field of vision.

This is a great reminder: Sometimes you need a new perspective toward your search -- broaden your gaze and see what you may have been missing.

3. You are trying too hard.
Sometimes the things you want most in life elude you because you expend too much energy in your search. Your focus becomes narrow when your intensity level increases and that can keep you from seeing the big picture. Stay calm and try to relax -- even though you feel frantic at times. You may need to slow down or take a break in your search efforts in order to get back to a more open mindset. Remember that force is rarely the correct solution to a problem.

4. You care too much.
One of the reasons I can help people find the things they are missing (including answers to their dilemmas) is that I have no emotional attachment to the search. I can do the looking and thinking and brainstorming from a distance, with nothing to lose, and that attitude actually makes it easier to find missing items and come up with solutions to problems.

Work on letting go of the situation -- recognize that it may be out of your control anyway. Be persistent in your search, but stay emotionally detached. Remind yourself that you will still be ok even if you don't find what you are looking for.

5. The timing isn't right.
Ultimately this is the most important factor to recognize about all of your searches -- you won't find what you are looking for until it's the right time, and you will have to learn patience while you wait. This is tough to accept, but there is wisdom to the way things unfold in the universe that may be beyond our understanding.

I read a story on the internet about a woman who lost her wedding ring while gardening some 15 or so years ago. The ring recently reappeared, wrapped around a carrot she harvested from that very garden. Amazing. Who knows why that ring needed to be in the ground for all those years? It can't be explained. But life is crazy like that sometimes.

Whatever you are looking for in your life, I wish you good luck on that journey. Remember to stay committed to the search, but with just the right amount of relaxed intensity and calm detachment. Keep your perspective as broad as possible and then learn to enjoy the wait. After all, life is really about learning how to live with uncertainty and find meaning even when all seems lost.

And if you'd like some assistance with your search, give me a call or check out my website.

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