This exercise intrigues me. So much so that I use it in several talks. Here's what to do: Take 15 seconds to read the bold print sentence below, and count the number of F's (6th letter in alphabet) in it. Remember, only 15 seconds. Ready? Go!
Ok, how many F's did you find? Did you find 3? If so, you're in good company. But, did you find 4? Or perhaps 5? Or 6? How about 7? (No, there are not seven, so go to the Eye Doctor because you're seeing things!).
The correct answer is 6, but a small percentage of my audiences see all 6. Let me point them out below and offer a word of explanation for why so few people see all 6. Here goes:
It seems that when we read a sentence, our mind is actually "hearing" the sentence in our head. As a result, the auditory part of our brain does a little hijacking of our visual skills, convincing us that when we read the word "of," we are actually reading its phonetic doppelganger, "ov." (I just coined the term "phonetic doppelganger" – do I win a prize for that?) Anyway, does this make sense? Though your eye clearly sees the f in of, your mind tricks you to hear the v in ov. So, you simply keep reading along in the sentence and miss those 3 F's.
Most of us saunter through life, missing an awful lot of F's. What do I mean? Well, the clearest example to me is the Bible. So many who read it seem to miss nearly every F. However, for those who hear the Shepherd's voice (John 10:4-5), they come back to the Bible time and time again, only to discover new and exciting F's that they'd missed before. Every time you pick up a Bible, you're in glorious danger of finding another F that will blow your mind. Simply put, there are a lot more F's in the Bible than you think there are!
So, why not pick up your Bible and read something?
That was a fun puzzle, eh? It was pithy, poignant and practical! Perfect! What grade do I give it? I give it an A ... er, no, an F.
PS. There were exactly 51 F's in this post.