Hello, Old Friend

September 26, 2022

Let’s play an imagination game. Let’s imagine you are walking into your office. It’s set up as you would normally have it, but now there is a harmless Martian sitting on top of your desk—two heads, five eyes, and a random number of limbs. This is a creature you have never seen before.

What would you do?

Most of us, once we confirm the Martian is harmless, would go straight toward this uninvited guest with its probing eyes ready to observe and interact with it. Or would you?

You might even become fixated with the Martian because of its novelty, but what if the Martian was no longer there? Would you enter your office with the same intense feeling about your stapler, lamp, or desk chair?

Why? Why not?

The answer is because of the distinction between recognizing versus observing.

Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein noted, “The keenest observers make use of every kind of sensory information. In fact, the greatest insights often come to individuals who are able to appreciate the ‘sublimity of the mundane,’ the deeply surprising and meaningful beauty in everyday things.”

To renegade our creative muscles, we can easily start with finding the beauty in the basics. But first, let’s highlight the distinction between recognizing and observing the basic things all around you.

Recognizing is defined by identifying objects because you’ve encountered them before, and you acknowledge their existence. You see they’re there—you know they’re there—but there isn’t an intense connection to the object, person, or the concept. You look at it throughout your day without really looking at it.

But an observation is an intense “paying attention to” and noticing the details and subtle elements of an object, person, concept, or situation.

We all can retrain our brains to regain that childlike skill of truly observing the world for our advancement in life and in business (more in-depth information can be found in the 7 Gems of Intercultural Creativity®).

When it comes to environmental observation, we must switch from simply recognizing to being able to observe our surroundings more often. If not, we could end up walking right past our million-dollar idea day after day. Don’t let that happen.

The ideas you possess might just surprise you. Be sure to register for our Corporate And Non-Profit Intercultural Creativity® Training where you can cultivate the creativity necessary to help increase your recognition and observation skills—skills that can be implemented throughout all areas of your life.

My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.
William James, Psychologist