The Power of Observation

Honing your powers of observation will not only help you to be more aware and
 functionally intelligent, this valuable skill of actually 'seeing' will help you in all areas of you life.

by Michael Corthell

What do you 'see', or do you usually just 'look'? We do not 'see' everything. There is just too much to process, so our minds ignore redundancies. And it is all about focus. For example, if I told you to note everything in a room that was red, and then I asked to close your eyes and describe everything that was blue, what would happen? You would miss most of the blue objects. You were focusing on red and ignoring the blue.

''It's Not What You Look At That Matters, It's What You See''
—Henry David Thoreau

Yes, it is focus and mindfulness. Let's look at an illustrative story, this time it is about making sure we are 'looking' at the 'big' picture:

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the village people told them, "Did you know that there is an elephant in the village today."

They had no idea what an elephant was, but they wanted to 'see' it. They said, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it, so we may discover it.'' All of them went where the elephant was and they all touched and felt the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is like a wooden post," said the first man who touched the elephant's leg.

"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the elephant's tail.

"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the elephant's trunk.

"It is like a big cooling hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the elephant's ear.

"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the elephant's belly.

"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the elephant's tusk.

They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated and ready to fight.

A wise man was passing by and he saw all this commotion. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter with all of you?" One of them responded, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is really like."

Each one of them described what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features just as you all said."

"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fighting. They felt happy that they were all correct (according to their limited perspectives).

Being a highly skilled, observant person is indeed a talent that takes practice. Some are born observers but most need practice to keenly see what is around them. To see the BIG picture. People who take the time, to take is all in, are unusually very centered, peaceful, and happy. Let's see how to become more of a 'seer' and less of a 'watcher':

Practice 10 minutes of mindful meditation. Mindful Meditation is one of the best ways to clear your mind so that you can pay attention to the world around you. Sit, close your eyes, and be aware of your breathing only. There is only this in and out of your breath. This simple exercise will increase your awareness skills.

Be logically minded, practice it. Logic Puzzles like the Rubik Cube, and cryptograms will help in sharping your logic and reasoning powers. They will make you concentrate and focus. They are exercises that will strengthen your mind by increasing neural-cells and their connections in your brain.

REMEMBERPractice memory recall. Memory is another powerful of observation tool used in observation. Simply recalling the days events at the end of the day and thinking about them, will exercise four parts of your brain: long-term memory, working short-term memory, reasoning and analysis. These are the same mind tools that are used when skillfully observing.

Seek out and experience new things. Being active and experiencing new things will help to improve observation by engaging you and focusing your attention. Always try to consciously remember by paying close attention to the details of the environment associated with the experience. That will help both enrich the experience, and increase your knowledge.  

Practicing and honing your powers of observation will not only help you to be more aware and functionally intelligent, this valuable skill of actually 'seeing' will help you in all areas of you life; including job performance, and your relationships with family and friends. Truly seeing, rather than just watching will increase not only the quality of your life but enhance your creative abilities as well.

The Power of Observation
by Cally Harper