by Niall Doherty

Wherever you are right now, I want you to do me a quick favor: Look around and notice something you haven’t noticed before.

Maybe it’s that picture on the wall that you’ve never given a second glance. Maybe it’s the guy sitting in the corner of the library who you’d been oblivious to until now. Maybe it’s a smell in the air, or some background noise that nobody else seems to notice.

I’ve been here in Budapest now for more than a month, and last week was the first time I realized that there was a martial arts studio on the street that I’ve been living on. I must have walked past the bright red sign three dozen times without noticing it.

It’s amazing how often we miss what’s right in front of us, the things we just don’t notice, even when they’re staring us in the face. Apparently our brains take in millions (billions?) of bits of information every minute, and we have this filtering system to save us from overwhelm. Unfortunately, the system often works a little too well.

What helps is to ask yourself: What am I missing here? What haven’t I noticed that might be worth noticing?

This is a good practice in all parts of life. In your work or business, ask yourself what’s right in front of you, what opportunity is staring you in the face that you might be missing? You can bet your ass there’s at least one that you’ve been oblivious to.

Same with conversation…

Take a second and stop trying to impress that person you’re talking with. Ask yourself what you haven’t noticed about them. What’s unique about this person? What’s their body language telling you?

Try this: Go to a busy spot and people watch for a while. Without even talking to them, try to come up with a story, based on their appearance, on what you observe, and then try explain to yourself why you came up with that story. What was it about that person? What did you notice?

Essentially, this is all about present moment awareness. Keep repeating those questions to yourself in your head…

What might I be missing here? What could I be taking for granted? What haven’t I noticed before?

A simple walk can be an amazing experience if you keep those questions in mind. What haven’t I noticed about this building/street/ditch before?

What you’re doing is keeping a sense of wonder about you at all times. This can change your world.

Now. Stop, look around, and tell me: What have you been missing?