Keen observers of self and others have a competitive edge. But, too often, our willingness to pay attention is dialed down too low. Much that we should see, and could capitalize on, passes us by. We’re blinded by the habit of inattention. We’re no longer fully present, noticing what’s going on within us and around us.
Our inward focus is dulled by the demands from evolving technology and the priorities of other people. We’re afraid to look up from our devices and our lives for fear that we may catch in our glimpse another obligation that will use up our energy and thwart our elusive goal of happiness.
But there are great rewards in opening up your eyes, your mind and your heart to new perspectives. It will fuel your creativity. Dictionary.com defines creativity as, “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc…”
Improving your observation skills will allow you to tap in to the energy that comes from discovering never-before-noticed nuances revealed only when you can connect to your environment in ways you hadn’t previously. It will open your mind to new possibilities allowing you to build a repertoire of experiences that can ignite innovation.
To wake up and strengthen your powers of observation, give yourself a cross-cultural experience. Yes, of course, you can visit another country, state or city. But you can also keep it local and accomplish the same goal. Instead of leaving town, walk the streets of another neighborhood right in your hometown. Stop and eat in one of its restaurants. Shop in stores you don’t frequent.
At work, shadow someone in another functional area or department. Sit in on work sessions of those at another job level. Your senses will switch on, naturally. You’ll become more alert and tuned-in. Observe with nonjudgmental curiosity. Now, reengage in your work with that same quality of interest and energy.
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