When You’re Not Looking

I’m regularly wowed by the things we find when we’re not looking for them.

While we were leaving a restaurant near our home last night, my girlfriend told me that we had to go to our corner store. For coffee and dish soap, she said. I suspected that there was a third thing, something we had run out of at home and had recently talked about needing. I couldn’t think of what it was, but I was sure there was a third thing.

When we got to the corner store, no bell went off in my head. I walked the aisles hoping something would leap out at me, but it didn’t happen.

Later on that night, hours after the store had closed, she remembered what it was: soy sauce.

She told me this while was I tooling around ThemeForest looking at WordPress themes for an upcoming project. Except I wasn’t, not really. I was looking at themes, checking my email, checking in on my fantasy basketball teams, scrolling through things on Product Hunt, and listening to what she was watching (CNN’s The Nineties). More accurately, I was spending time doing little things because I couldn’t shake the suspicion that I was looking for something without knowing I was looking. So, even though I wasn’t doing anything, I kept doing it.

I was hoping to find the third thing.

I can’t explain this feeling — this idea of knowing you are looking for something without knowing what that thing is — but I bet you’ve had it. Possibly in front of a refrigerator.

When I found what I was unconsciously looking for (a tool for Amazon affiliate tags, of all things) I experienced a subdued sense of amazement. It was like my brain was rewarding me for trusting my gut.

A few days earlier, I had been looking for just such a tool. Apparently, some background process in my head had been whirring away for days, and then boom, it happened.

I felt compelled to type this out. I feel compelled to tell people to trust their guts and follow their instincts.

It doesn’t really have to make sense to anyone except for you.

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