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What Are You Noticing?

Feb 21, 2023

In an age when so many of us go through life with our heads down, studying our various devices, we don’t seem to notice much outside our immediate range of vision.

What happens when you look up and start to pay attention to your surroundings? 

How aware are you about your own behaviors and how they may be impacting others around you? In the workplace – or at home, how often do you provide undivided attention to others when they are speaking? Are you listening? Are you really hearing? Or are you distracted with the thoughts in your own head, the ones that circle around and around throughout the day?

What would happen if you really took time to notice today?  To pay close attention to your patterns of thought and behavior. And what about the behaviors of others – what can you learn about the people around you when you pay attention?

What you learn when you take time to notice can be very helpful in becoming more deliberate and intentional about your own responses in any given situation. It can help you prepare for a thoughtful response rather than going with the knee-jerk, automatic response that you sometimes regret. 

For many years, I practiced noticing what happens in meetings with other business leaders. I realized not many people pay attention to the body language of other people in the room, and that I could learn a great deal by watching and listening. I noticed looks being exchanged, eyes rolling and other disparaging gestures. I also noticed to whom people paid attention and whose comments were ignored. I learned a great deal in those situations.

When you notice, you raise both your self-awareness and awareness of others. For yourself, you can be more conscious about the choices that you make in the words you say and the actions you take. You can avoid the default behaviors that result from automatic reactions and habits of thought. Instead, you can pause, reflect, and choose a response that better represents your intention.

As for increasing your awareness of others, noticing can be helpful in creating solid connections, and building a foundation for healthy relationships. When you notice the actions of others, you can acknowledge them and provide meaningful feedback and positive reinforcement. This is more powerful than most of us realize. Studies show that many people often feel invisible and that we all have a desire to feel seen, heard, and understood.

And from brain science we have learned that criticism is processed ten times faster and stored ten times longer than praise. So, when you are able to notice, and then praise someone, for the things they are doing right, there’s a double benefit. The person is happy someone noticed, and you feel good bringing it to their attention.

So what – and who – do you need to notice more? How can you become more conscious about doing this? Try it today, or this week and let me know what you experience. And, by all means, pass this message along to others who might benefit from noticing more.  Note:  that’s pretty much all of us.



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