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From Seeing to Noticing – what’s the difference?

How quickly do you go from noticing to simply seeing?

I moved house 10 months ago and it has just struck me how quickly I’ve fallen into a routine.  Habits and patterns have alreanew pathsdy formed and I’ve lost that exciting sense of anticipation and wonder that comes from exploring a new space.

In the first weeks and months of living in a new house and a new town, I took every opportunity to explore.  I took a different route from my house into town.  I was enticed down small pathways and towards new views along the way.  Now…..I go out of my door, turn left and walk straight down the road.

When we are somewhere new we notice details – signs, colours, smells, doorways, paths, textures.  It’s like we have our curiosity antenna up.  We are tuned into how things look and feel.  And since we don’t know where a path will lead us we use our senses and our intuition to guide us.

Then, as we become more familiar this noticing turns to simply seeing.  Our brain filters out the “unnecessary” detail and focuses our eyes and ears on what we need to be aware of in that moment.  That’s an efficient use of our senses however what happens is we lose the richness, depth and texture that comes from mindfully noticing our wider experience.

In this quest for efficiency, safety or ease we ignore the small things which can actually make the biggest difference to our happiness and well-being.  The colour of the leaves falling from the trees, the smell of coffee from coffee shop across the road, the smile from someone we pass on the street or the chinks of autumn sun casting a warm glow on the buildings around us.

We can get so habitually programmed to walk the same route, eat the same food, talk to the same people or do the same tasks in the same order that we stop noticing that there are other options or possibilities.

There is another way, however.

detailChoosing to be curious again.  Consciously shifting into child-mode and seeing as if for the first time.  Noticing by using all of your senses and expanding your awareness beyond what is immediately in front of you.

So many of us in life and business find a way which works for us that over time we stop noticing that there could be a different, more effective, more fulfilling or simply more fun way to do what we are doing.  Stepping back and switching into mindfully noticing can re-invigorate us and our thinking.


Why don’t you give one of these a try:

  • When you east a meal today notice how it REALLY tastes.
  • When you move from place A to place B today LOOK UP and notice what and who is around you.
  • When you shift on to your next task pause and ask yourself WHY am I doing this?  Could I do it differently or not at all?


Have fun being mindful and reconnecting with your beginner’s mind.


If you liked this blog why not take a look at these:

Developing a Beginner’s Mind

Why do the colours change in Autumn?





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