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.

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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