I want to learn how to be more observant

Be Aware of Your Instincts

We all get those unexplainable feelings sometimes. You feel on edge for some reason, or you feel as though someone is watching you.

Most of the time, these instincts are telling you something important. Instead of brushing them off, use them as a guide.

If something feels off, look around and find out why. If someone makes you uncomfortable, walk away. Trusting your instincts is a great way to keep safe at all times.

After all, even those with the best self-defense skills can’t use them if they don’t know a situation calls for it.

4. Theyre great listeners

If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not to take that new job that requires a cross-country move or if you’re having problems in a relationship, observant people are great to have around. We all know that conversations aren’t just about talking, listening, and responding. We need to engage the entire body and mind, not just the ears and mouth. Since observant people tend to be better at grounding themselves in the moment, they likely have excellent focus and are therefore more likely to be fully engaged in a conversation. They’ll nod, make eye contact, and ask questions when appropriate to indicate that they’re fully engaged. Such active dialogue lends itself well to problem-solving because you can talk through the situation and examine it from different angles.


Managing Distractions

Idea Log

Idea Log

Of these distractions, which one distracts you the most? What would be the best way for you to manage it?

3. They know When You’re Lying

Don’t even bother telling porkies to anyone, especially a really observant person.

They’ll know you’re about to lie even before you open your mouth.

Observant people will notice your changes in breathing, your facial expressions and so on, they know the tell-tale signs.

  • So here’s a tip: just tell them all about it.

Because chances are, they already know.


Practice being observant and not just in new places. While you might decide to try and be more observant this is not something that you can easily remember when there is a lot going on, and only practicing will help you to observe naturally. So sit in your living room or bedroom and make it your mission to try and spot something new. This might be a small mark on the television, a scuff on the wallpaper or a book on the shelf you didn’t know you had. Similarly practice observing out the window.

10. They love to people-watch

Observant people probably get told off for staring or being nosy when they’re in public, but people-watching serves two purposes; it keeps their minds actively engaged with their surroundings, and it offers creative inspiration. Since observant people’s senses are always tingling, they often find creativity, like writing or painting, to be a useful outlet.

According to Scott Kaufman, a psychologist at NYU, “Marcel Proust spent almost his whole life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books.” One of my creative writing professors in college used to tell her students to go to Starbucks with a notebook and eavesdrop on people’s conversations because there are stories all around us if we know where to find them, and observant people are great at sniffing out stories.

1 Comment

  1. Carson Hardy February 12, 2015 at 8:45 am This reading was great, it kept me well entertained and informed and hopefully my observation will increase in time due to this article. Reply

How Our Brains Work: Inattentional Blindness

In the previous video, more than 50% of people watching the “The Invisible Gorilla” video for the first time, do not see the gorilla. If you’ve seen the video before, did you notice the other changes? Probably not. Only 17 percent of those who were familiar with the original video noticed the unexpected events in the new video [Simons, 2010]. What’s happening?

Although the phenomenon has long been known, recent studies show that it is much more common than anyone realized, and that it is one of the major causes of accidents and human error. In 1992, Arien Mack and Irvin Rock, two researchers at MIT, coined the term inattentional blindness to describe this phenomenon. Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice a fully visible but unexpected object because attention was engaged on another task, event, or object. [Mack, 1998] It happens to all of us. Seeing may seem like a conscious process, but the truth is, most of it is largely unconscious. Our senses are bombarded with so much information, sights, sounds, smells, etc., that our minds cannot process it all.

Watch the video

Yale University’s Brian Scholl discusses how our brains deal with the information overload [National Geographic, 2013].

[PDF transcript]

To cope with the sensory overload problem, we develop filters. Filtering helps the brain deal with all the stimuli and information that bombards it. Our changing culture, values, and beliefs shape our filters and influence how and what we notice, and how we react. Filters help focus our attention on a single task or part of the environment and ignore everything else. What we filter in or filter out depends on where we put our attention. Even though the brain can scan 30 to 40 pieces of information (e.g., sights, sounds, smells) per second, its limited resources mean that most of it is immediately forgotten. This prevents us from becoming overwhelmed.

Attention is something we have to learn. Through time and practice, we have taught our brain to recognize which signals are important and to prioritize them first so we can quickly redirect our attention to them. And, just as attention is learned, it can also be relearned. [Davidson, 2011]

“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.” ― Julie Andrews Edwards, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

8. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat

An observant person will generally repeat actions,  a lot.

They will read the same book many times, and experience the thrill of noticing something new each time.

  • As we noted before, boredom is not a familiar concept to them.
  • One of the reasons an observant person is so fond of repetition is that they may be afraid of something slipping under their radar.

They are aware that people often tend to miss key facts, so they make that extra effort to miss nothing.

Repetition is a main reason why observant people are able to store huge amounts of information and why they tend to perform well on tests of their knowledge.

How can I contact you once having a better answer for How To Be More Observant​?

We work with all problems related to users and partners via email, from partner proposal to user contribution. So once you have a better answer for How To Be More Observant​, email us. Howtolinks appreciates that.

What are three ways to improve observation skills?

Three ways to improve your observational skills are start at one corner of the room and run your eyes over at every space, turn offer filters, and write down or take photos of every evidence as possible.

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Recent Posts

The Key To Being Observant is to Slow Down

With so many things do every day, it’s easy to rush around. But one of the best things to do in order to be more observant is to slow down.

By slowing yourself down, you open yourself up to the details of your surroundings. Rushing past everything means you’ll never notice when a situation is no longer safe.

Always remember to take an extra moment and look around. Those few extra seconds could make all the difference in a bad situation.

Although observation is vital to personal safety, there are many other ways to protect yourself as well. Check out our site today for more information about personal security.


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