A few years back during a long open water swim I began counting by 3 to clear my mind of an all consuming morning of writing. I had reached that point where I was writing for an hour without getting anywhere. It was time for a break. During the summer, especially if it's before noon that means a wander through the woods to the lake for a swim.
Counting by 3 is interesting because up until 6o it's easy and expected. Then up until 99 it gets a little more unusual, and after that it's just fascinating what goes on in the brain. 102 is a number that--at first blush--would not look like it'd be divisible by three, but after having just passed 99, it's undeniable. Moving on. Similar moments happen at 117, and 177, but the big moment happened for me at 234. I don't why. I'd passed many numbers ending in 4 including some obvious ones like 84 and 144 and I didn't flinch, but 234 made me pause. Why?
Maybe it's just that it felt so far away from 210? Maybe those digits just don't say "three" to me. 237 wasn't helping, but then there was 240! Aha! I had to look ahead a short distance instead of looking back a longer distance to find context for my current, albeit meaningless, conundrum.
For years I have used this example for people feeling so lost in the present that they are not willing to consider what might be next. It's funny as I'm writing this I can't think of a specific example, but I'm fairly certain that tomorrow, with the context of the future I will look back with clarity and edit this post.
EPILOGUE: A quick google search today before sharing this personal moment taught me the "divisible by three" trick for which many of you are probably laughing at me: "If the digits add up to a number divisible by three...then it's divisible by three." For example, 23457 is divisible by 3 because 2+3+4+5+7= 21. Ignorant and Speechless.