Mr. Rogers and the art of noticing
Mr. Rogers and the art of noticing
Have you ever paid attention to what you notice? Do you notice visual things first? How you feel? What you’re hearing? What you notice first when you walk into a room is going to be different than what everyone else notices.
We all notice things differently. But we aren’t always that good at noticing things. We all spend more time than we’d like to admit on auto-pilot. Science backs this up. An article in Psychology Today walks us through a few exercises to see how much we really notice in the world around us. The point of the article is to show us that when we realize we haven’t paid attention to things, we actually remember them better.
For example, can you locate the nearest fire extinguisher to you without getting up or moving around? Can you remember where it is? If you can’t remember where it is off the top of your head, go find it. Studies show that if I ask you to do this exercise again in three months, you will remember where it is right away.
The fact of the matter is that we have to practice noticing things to get better at it. We don’t just get better at noticing the visual and physical things in the world around us, we get better at the internal things too. Our feelings, reactions, and state of mind are crucial to how we experience life.
I was recently sent a video of Mr. Rogers giving an acceptance speech at the Emmys in the 90s. He was a master at noticing things. And in this speech, he reminds us to take time and reflect on the people who have influenced us. He says:
“So many people have helped me to come here to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away and some are even in Heaven. All of us have special ones who loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. 10 seconds, I’ll watch the time. Whomever you’ve been thinking about, how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they have made.”
I know that when I run on autopilot, I tend to forget these people. It doesn’t mean they aren’t important to me. It just means they are there in the back of my mind even when I’m not consciously thinking about them. Watching the video, I took 10 seconds and thought about the people in my life who have helped me become who I am.
In that moment, Mr. Rogers made millions of people stop, take notice of their inner selves, and experience gratitude. Decades later, he made me do the same.
The art of noticing is about experiencing the world around you and then the world inside you. Aside from becoming a regular Sherlock Holmes, you’ll be blown away by the way you experience life when you pay attention and notice everything.
Watch the video and use those 10 seconds to reflect on the people who are most important to you. And, if I ask you in three months who those people are, you’ll be able to name them right away and explain why they’re important to you.
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