See Beyond: How to Boost Your Power of Observation

How would you rate your power of observation?

The question isn’t meant as an indictment. Some of us are just more naturally observant than others.

But being observant offers a lot of benefits – in both the professional and personal contexts.

So if you’d like to increase your ability to observe the people and the world around you, try the following simple steps:

1. Clear Your Mind 

Trivia masters aside, most of us possess brains with a limited capacity for facts.

So if you’re practicing being more observant, the first thing you need to do is take stock of your mind’s state, then clear out any irrelevant factoids that may be gumming up the works.

This will clear space for your observations and allow your mind to be more open.

2. Home in on the Details 

Each day, take a few moments and just pause. Take in everything in your field of vision. What do you notice?

It’s not uncommon to notice the large objects. But start to look for the smaller details. When you’re first practicing noticing details, quantifying can be helpful.

For example, the next time you walk through your neighborhood, notice how many windows are on the facade of a building or house. Or count how many lawn ornaments, play structures, or flower pots you see.

Counting objects – without being obsessive, of course – is a great way to train the brain to start noticing smaller and more refined details.

Soon enough, you will embrace the flaneur meaning 

3. Look for Totems

As you get more in the habit of observing details, practice looking for those that help to define individuals. This can be especially helpful in relationships. 

Every person has objects that are deeply iconic to them and serve as their personal canvas. It might be a collection of some sort. Perhaps it’s photographs or artwork.

Being aware of what is personally meaningful to others will deepen your understanding of them. 

4. Stay in the Moment 

With so many possible distractions, it’s easy to get pulled away from studying the details that build your power of observation.

Intrusive thoughts, electronics, or just plain noise can quickly challenge your focus. Try to stay in the present.  

If you’re used to always tuning out the world with headphones and listening to music or a podcast, try unplugging instead.

To practice this, go out and take a walk just for the purpose of noticing details. Then, relying on your five senses, observe the following:

  • Color, size, shape, and number of things you see.
  • Sounds that you hear.
  • Specific objects and how they relate to one another.
  • Types of sensations you feel.

Be sure to also notice any people you encounter, what they’re wearing, and what they’re doing.

5. Take Note and Reflect

Finally, whenever possible, write out your observations. Try to be specific.

At the end of the day, reflect on all you saw and heard. Reread your observations.

And in no time, you’ll be a regular flaneur! (You can get the details on flaneur meaning here.) 

Boost Your Power of Observation

Follow the above steps to increase your power of observation and start reaping the rewards of being a more observant person! 

You’ll definitely live a fuller life.

And for more great tips and articles, keep checking back with our lifestyle blog.

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