The Power of Observation: The ‘Notice What You Notice’ Technique

In a world full of distractions, it’s easy to overlook the details of our surroundings. However, by tuning into what catches our attention, we can uncover valuable insights about ourselves and the world around us. The ‘Notice What You Notice’ technique is an exercise that encourages us to become more observant and pay attention to what catches our attention. This exercise is part of the ‘Tune In’ stage of the Street Wisdom model, a toolkit designed to help us access the wisdom that’s all around us in the urban environment.

How to Practice ‘Notice What You Notice’

  1. Choose Your Location: Select a location where you can walk comfortably and safely. It could be a busy high street, a quiet park, or any other urban area.
  2. Begin Your Walk: Start walking at a comfortable pace, without any specific destination in mind. Allow yourself to wander freely.
  3. Observe Your Surroundings: As you walk, pay attention to your surroundings. Notice the buildings, the people, the sounds, and any other elements that make up your environment.
  4. Notice What Catches Your Attention: Pay attention to what catches your eye. It could be anything – a sign, a person, a building, etc. Don’t judge or analyse, just notice what stands out to you.
  5. Reflect: Take a moment to reflect on why that particular thing caught your attention. What does it tell you about your current state of mind or your interests? What can you learn from it?
  6. Continue Your Walk: Resume your walk and continue to notice what catches your attention. You can repeat the exercise as many times as you like.

Benefits of ‘Notice What You Notice’

Practising the ‘Notice What You Notice’ technique can have several positive effects:

  1. Increased Awareness: By paying attention to what catches your eye, you can become more aware of your surroundings and your own thought processes.
  2. Enhanced Creativity: Observing your surroundings without judgement can stimulate your creativity and inspire new ideas.
  3. Greater Insight: Reflecting on why certain things catch your attention can provide insight into your current state of mind and help you uncover subconscious thoughts and feelings.
  4. Improved Mindfulness: Actively observing your surroundings can help you become more present and mindful.


The ‘Notice What You Notice’ technique is a simple yet effective way to become more observant, mindful, and aware of your surroundings. By paying attention to what catches your eye and reflecting on why it does so, you can gain valuable insights into your own mind and the world around you. Next time you are out for a walk, try practicing the ‘Notice What You Notice’ technique and see what insights you uncover. Remember, the world is full of wisdom; all it takes is a little bit of observation and reflection to tap into it.