Have you ever just sat, got out of your own thoughts, and observed the world around you—the world for what it actually is and what it has to offer? This world is so big, so vast, and so replete with marvels that one can continue to be amazed every day. However, the world is only as big as you allow your perception to define it. It is only as big as you make conscious efforts to come out of our shells and observe.
We humans go through so much daily and have to do so many things that we forget to look around us, to just sit down and view nature as it is, and observe what is going on in our surroundings. Here are 10 simple daily practices that are fun, practical, and useful and help you see a bigger world.
1. Look up from your smartphones, take off your headphones
Our use of technology immensely limits our awareness of life around us. Engaged with the glowing screens in front of us, instead of the people and the environment around us, we often fail to notice what is going on in our surroundings and miss out simple joys of life. A whole new world exists beyond that glowing screen, but it requires from us to look around and experience all that it has to offer. The effects of the changing seasons, the aesthetics of a venue you are dining at, and a talented street performer beneath the park bridge are just some of the few things that you may find when you start observing. Similarly, while travelling in a vehicle or walking, you can observe better and listen to interesting conversations and sounds around you if you do not have your ears plugged. Therefore, one of the most important daily practices for seeing the bigger world is to limit your use of headphones and smartphones when you step outside.
2. Don’t take the same path to or from school/work
On your walk or drive to or from school/work, take a different path each day. You’ll be amazed at how much you discover when you do so! It is very easy to follow the same path daily, but what’s the point in that? You will see different patterns, different people, different architecture, different street art etc. when you keep changing your path and observe keenly on your way.
3. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings
Stop and listen to the sounds of the natural environment around you–the chirping, whistling and singing of the birds, the buzzing of bees, rustling of tree leaves, and the various sounds of the city, all may bring new information to you. Train your ears to listen for new things and notice different sounds.
4. Observe and talk to people around you
From jogging in the park to the line in the café, there are countless opportunities to meet new people and talk to them, but we have to be looking around and observing them in order to notice and take advantage of the opportunity. Observing and talking to people is another of the simple daily practices that can help you see the bigger world and expand your worldview as people share their experiences with you.
5. Challenge yourself to pay attention to new things
Keeping a look out for new things is easier said than done. You cannot just plan that you will start observing the world more from today and expect that it happens too. Instead you might be able to produce better results when you challenge yourself to do so. For example, you can assign yourself a scavenger hunt, i.e. select something for you to look for during your walk or anytime you are out during the day. This could be anything, security cameras, orange flowers, people with headphones or anything. You can also challenge yourself to take a photo of a unique thing every day or with different challenges each day for keeping it interesting.
6. Sit in a public place and journal
Take out a few minutes to sit in a public place, such as a bus station, a park, a shopping mall, etc. Observe the people around and record details about them, such as how they are dressed, the expressions they are wearing on their faces, etc. Note the details and write about whatever comes to your mind or about the way the scene made you feel. This will also help you find out new things around you that you never noticed before.
7. Consume entertainment actively
While watching a movie or listening to a song, we are often tempted to zone out. But thinking about what the director of a movie was trying to get at when he/she added a particular aspect in the story or what the song’s lyrics actually mean may be another of the important simple daily practices to make you see the bigger world and practice observation.
8. Get lost—explore the streets and alleys you have never been to before
When you have free time, get outside and explore places you have never been to before. You may discover a new café or restaurant, different new street performers, another breed of dogs that you never knew about, or a new way back to home. You become so mindful of your surroundings when you explore new streets and alleys.
9. Analyse what you see or read, and ask questions
When you observe your surroundings or read something, stop and question your thoughts. Start asking as much questions as you can, which will help you think critically. This also helps in boosting your skills of deduction and observation in general, while also expanding your knowledge about the world.
10. Make connections between what you see and the knowledge you have
For seeing a bigger world, your daily practices also need to include connecting your previous knowledge to what you see or observe. For example, you see a child having trouble in reading. You know this could be related to vision problems or it may be dyslexia so you look for symptoms of both and make a deduction on the basis of the ones that are found more prominently in the child. In this way you will be able to learn more and enhance your knowledge in general.