Observant People (The Ultimate Guide + Image Quotes)

I've been binge-watching the new Netflix series “Marvel's Daredevil” lately. If you're familiar with the show (based on the Stan Lee and Bill Everett comic book series), you'll know that Daredevil Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox) is a blind vigilante who prowls the streets of New York in a black mask to protect the city he adores. Matt stands at an open window of an abandoned building in one scene, listening to and identifying every strain of sound on the street below, from the precise pitch of whining fire engines and police vehicles to snippets of conversation. He can tell if someone is lying by listening to their heart rate, and about halfway through the series *SPOILER ALERT!* he tells his best friend Foggy Nelson that he was inspired to take on the Daredevil persona after hearing a girl crying in an apartment building several blocks away.

While even the most observant person is unlikely to use their senses in the way that Matt Murdock does, Matt Murdock is a perfect example of what goes on in the observant person's brain. We frequently associate observation with vision—using our eyes to take in the world around us—but being observant entails much more than just seeing. It entails activating our brains to full capacity and immersing ourselves in the world with every molecule in our bodies. Observant people notice everything, from the smallest speck of dust to the woman on the bus who smells like she just took a shower with her favorite perfume. This level of sensory awareness can be both a blessing and a curse, because noticing everything requires more concentration to filter out background noise or unimportant details in order to prioritize information. Here are fifteen things that only the most astute observers can understand and that everyone else can learn from if they pay attention!

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1. They use deductive reasoning

Let us take another well-known example: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is well-known for his powers of observation and deduction, and he famously tells his clients not to leave out any detail when describing their problems to him, even the most seemingly insignificant trifle, because, as he frequently says, “there's nothing so important as trifles.” He can tell Watson has a cold because he has lost weight and his slippers are scorched from warming his feet in front of the fire, and in his very first case, A Study in Scarlet, he manages to catch a murderer by identifying the tobacco ash left at the crime scene, among other things.

While observant people may not use their skills to solve crimes on a regular basis, this demonstrates that paying attention to detail can make you more aware of your surroundings. As a result, observant people may be more likely to be considerate of others. If they notice a coworker wearing mismatched shoes, for example, they might deduce from this detail that the person left the house in a hurry and isn't having the best morning, so it might not be the best time to bring up that looming project deadline.

2. They can detect deception

People who pay attention to body language notice posture, eye contact, facial expressions, and changes in breathing. It's a common misconception that when we lie, we don't make eye contact with the person we're deceiving. You can't hide anything from a keen observer. Matt Murdock can tell when Foggy wants to say something but changes his mind simply by observing his breathing. So, if you have something to say to someone who is paying attention, just spit it out; they'll drag it out of you eventually anyway, and you'll feel better for having gotten it off your chest.

3. They engage in mindfulness exercises

We're all guilty of checking our phones or playing Candy Crush while waiting for the subway or standing in line at the supermarket because we can't stand boredom, but for those who pay attention, this is simply an opportunity to practice mindfulness. When they are still, they use their time wisely, soaking in their surroundings, taking in the intricate beading on the shoes of the woman in front of them or the way the man seated across from them at the bus stop nervously combing his fingers through his hair. They even like to make up stories, such as the guy meeting a secret lover or being nervous about a job interview. These games keep the mind active and assist observant people in staying grounded in the present moment.

4. They are excellent listeners

If you're debating whether or not to take that new job that requires a cross-country move, or if you're having relationship problems, observant people can help. Conversations, as we all know, are more than just talking, listening, and responding. Not just the ears and mouth, but the entire body and mind, must be engaged. Because observant people are better at grounding themselves in the present moment, they are more likely to have excellent focus and thus be fully engaged in a conversation. When appropriate, they will nod, make eye contact, and ask questions to demonstrate that they are fully engaged. Because you can talk through the situation and examine it from various perspectives, such active dialogue lends itself well to problem solving.

5. They have superior organizational abilities

This trait is sometimes mistaken for obsessive-compulsiveness, but it is simply a natural side effect of being aware of one's surroundings. Maybe you remember that episode of “Full House” where DJ and Steph accidentally punch a hole in Danny's bedroom wall and try to cover it up by moving all of the furniture in the room. When he notices something out of the ordinary, his first words are, “Who moved the baking soda in my underwear drawer?”

Because observant people notice everything, when something is out of place, it throws the universe out of balance; however, one of the reasons they can remain so focused and productive in their daily lives is that they have everything they need at their fingertips. There will be no searching for paperclips or turning their desk drawers upside down in search of a pen.

6. They have a strong sense of direction

Because observant people are constantly aware of their surroundings, they are excellent at spotting landmarks or points of orientation, particularly in large or crowded environments. When you go to the mall during the Christmas rush, always bring an observant person with you because they will be the most likely to remember where you parked your car and will not be foolish enough to use non-stationary landmarks like the pea-green minivan plastered with political bumper stickers that might not be there by the time you finish shopping.

7. They are extremely analytical

The thing about being extremely observant is that it goes hand in hand with analysis. Observant individuals, such as Sherlock Holmes, notice everything because everything is important to them.

Assume you're telling your incredibly perceptive friend about your recent vacation, and you exclaim, “Me and my husband spent the weekend at this great hotel!” Expect the friend to respond, “my husband and I, not me and my husband.” You can't use objective pronouns in a sentence's subject.” This may appear picky (and it is), but you'll want that person around when you need someone to proofread the report or legal document you just wrote because you know they'll catch every mistake you made, including ones you didn't realize you made.

8. They are veritable fountains of knowledge

If their proclivity to correct grammar in casual conversations wasn't a giveaway, observant people can be know-it-alls at times. They're so used to noticing everything and filing it away in their encyclopedic brains that they forget that this isn't the case for everyone. So, don't take it personally if you express surprise when they tell you that a pumping human heart is powerful enough to squirt blood up to a distance of 30 feet and the observant person who edified you responds with “I thought everyone knew that.” Simply remind them that not everyone is as detail-oriented and fact-oriented as they are. They like knowing that their talent has a place in the universe, even if they are frustrated that no one seems to have their depth of knowledge. You'll want them around the next time you play Trivia Crack.

9. They have superior survival skills

You've probably seen people driving while talking on the phone, texting, applying makeup, or fiddling with their iPods. You've most likely done it yourself. According to a recent Psychology Today article, we've become less observant as we've evolved and begun to rely more on technology and less on our bodily instincts. That “little voice” telling you to pay attention or that something isn't right is actually your limbic system in action.

Failure to follow this basic human instinct can result in accidents and injuries. According to the AAA Foundation, approximately 80% of drivers feel unsafe on the roads due to distractions, and federal statistics show that distracted driving causes 5000 car accidents each year. People who are aware that distractions interfere with focus are more likely to practice situational awareness, remaining alert in potentially dangerous situations.

10. They enjoy people-watching

Observant people are probably chastised for staring or being nosy in public, but people-watching serves two purposes: it keeps their minds actively engaged with their surroundings and it provides creative inspiration. Because observant people's senses are constantly tingling, they frequently find creativity, such as writing or painting, to be a useful outlet.

“Marcel Proust spent almost his entire life people-watching, and he wrote down his observations, and it eventually came out in his books,” says Scott Kaufman, a psychologist at NYU. One of my creative writing professors in college used to tell her students to go to Starbucks with a notebook and eavesdrop on people's conversations because stories are all around us if we know where to look, and observant people are great at sniffing out stories.

11. They are excellent character judges

Observant people are always aware of social dynamics, and because they can read body language so well, they can tell how people treat one another fairly easily. They can tell when a couple is truly in love by the tone of their conversation or how close they sit to each other. They can tell how close a pair of friends are based on the tone of their Facebook posts and Twitter conversations.

“He didn't say a word to anyone the entire time we were at dinner, and he never looked at you when you spoke to him,” a friend of mine once expressed concern about a mutual friend's significant other. He's a piece of bad news.” Everyone said the person had a sixth sense when they broke up. No, not at all. She was only paying attention to what was going on around her. Give it a shot.

12. They have more refined comprehension and critical thinking abilities

People who were observant were probably the ones who breezed through school tests, were the fastest readers, and responded to questions in class the quickest. This isn't necessarily a natural ability, but rather the result of them honing their observational abilities. According to Social-Psychiatry.com, one of the most significant advantages of being so attentive is that all of that brain exercise strengthens neural pathways in the brain, resulting in better reading comprehension and reading speed.

This improves the ability to absorb and retain information, which explains why observant people have eidetic memories. As a Master's student studying for my comprehensive exam, I developed a reputation in my study group as the quotation queen. Instead of looking up a book quotation's page number, someone would read it to me from their notes, and I'd tell them what page it was on. It saved me a significant amount of time.

13. They are perfectionists

The disadvantage of being so detail-oriented is that it can be difficult to let things slide at times. People who pay attention must cross every t, dot every I and proofread their emails five times, both manually and with a spell-checker. They must practice their presentations fifteen times before they are comfortable, but they will be the most productive people you can work with because they believe that there is no point in doing a job unless it is done correctly. Because they can micromanage and oversee what everyone is doing, they make excellent team leaders, trainers, and teachers.

14. They understand the value of repetition

People who pay attention can watch their favorite movies and read their favorite books over and over again and never get bored because they will always learn something new. Even if it's something as simple as noticing what color socks a character is wearing, it adds a whole new dimension to the experience. Furthermore, while observant people tend to absorb information faster, they are also aware that something may slip under their radar unnoticed. This is why it is always a good practice to read novels several times before writing a research paper about them, and why rereading study or presentation notes several times is a good habit to develop, because the more you look at something, the more deeply it becomes etched in your mind's eye.

15. They have better relationships

This relates to the importance of reading body language and understanding relationship dynamics. Observant people are more sensitive to the rhythms of other people's lives and bodies, as well as their own, and can thus detect mood changes and habits. They are more likely to inquire as to what is bothering their partner if they notice a frown or if a normally chatty friend has become unusually quiet or withdrawn. They'll understand that if you're not a morning person, it's pointless to try to get a word out of you before you've had your caffeine fix, and they'll remember that the only thing that cheers you up when you're down is your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry's. This isn't a trick of the light. They simply care about you enough to spend time observing how they can improve the relationship.

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