“We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
— Epictetus (AD 55 – c.135)
Do you remember that fun game we played where each of us took a sheet of paper, set the timer and listed everything we noticed in a part of the room or the entire room – and whoever got the maximum number of items won? This is probably one of the best games ever to cultivate the habit of observing, being aware of what is around you.
“We value our sight above almost everything else. The reason for this is that of all the senses sight makes knowledge most possible for us and shows us the many differences between things.” Aristotle
The Oxford dictionary defines observation as the action or process of observing something or someone to gain information. Do you realize that we don’t observe with just our eyes – but also with our ears, by listening? We use all five senses when we observe and this helps us to improve our interactions with others.
As we go through life, much of what we learn is through observation. This is a valuable skill as it enables us notice minute details we might otherwise have missed when we interact with others. I’ve read that long before writing was invented, our ancestors used art to record their observations. In fact, your favorite subject science uses information based on observation to accept, reject or modify theories and hypotheses. Without observation, one might have no rationale to differentiate between fact and fiction.
“To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
― Marilyn Vos Savant
Interestingly, observation is a matter of choice. For the most part, we tend not to pay attention either by default, because we choose to ignore. We rush around trying to check off everything on our to-do lists and fail to notice the little things and question why.
I love how you notice everything even if you don’t mention it! As a child, your gaze would follow us all over the place, before you started walking. As you grew up, it always amazed me how you noticed the small details about everything you saw – a photographic memory. Don’t ever lose your habit of being curious about everything! Pay attention to who and what is around you. You never know when something will stand you in good stead. In fact, the world’s best detectives rely on their observation skills to solve seemingly impossible cases. I am thinking of my favorite Columbo, Monk, The Mentalist…and of course Sherlock Holmes. Elementary, dear Watson!
Some of the direct benefits of good observation skills are better communication – as you develop an awareness of those around you, their feelings and attitude. This lets you react appropriately. You also become a better decision maker as you have the ability to predict outcomes based on what you see. Best of all, you improve the quality of your life by mindfulness – noticing the little things. Observation brings joy into your life.
As you start new things, meet new people and see new places, I urge you to always practice your observation skills. Develop your focus. Build your knowledge bank and step forth with confidence!
Love and hugs,
Blessed to be your Mum.
A to Z Challenge 2015 – Going with the theme “Letters to my son”
O is for Observe
O is for Options on Life Hacks for Happiness
O is for Oatmeal on Life Hacks for Diabetes