The Art of Noticing (Part 2)

By Jim LaDoux
The Art of Noticing is a thought-provoking book designed to spark one’s awareness and creativity through the intention use and focus of our senses. It challenges the reader to experience the moment and to be present to the people, places, sights, sounds, and smells of our environment. The book includes 131 simple and playful exercises to help you become a clearer thinker, a better listener, a more creative coach and co-worker, and to rediscover what really matters to you. Listed below are few ideas and exercises from the book about using our multiple senses to be more fully aware of our situations and the possibilities for envisioning new ways to move forward.

Keep a Daily or Weekly List

Start keeping a list of things subtly changing around you, Then revisit your findings and note the trends you're seeing. Some item I've been tracking is:
  • The types of noises I hear when walking in my neighborhood.
  • The times I hear about their dreams and their future.
  • The headlines of the local newspaper.
  • Store openings and closings in my community.
  • Color trends in new home developments.
  • Car color trends.
  • How often church leaders talk about their dreams for their church.
  • How often church leaders talk about ways practice faith in their daily lives.

Embrace Distraction

In short, to be distracted is to concentrate, however fleetingly, on something besides whatever you intended to concentrate on—and accepting that this distraction is a form of concentration. If we focus with perfect discipline, we actually miss out on “the surprises that distraction can bring,” Marshall Goldsmith writes. “True, distraction might mean missing the main event. But what if nobody knows what or where the main event is?” Distractions I've been noticing lately include:
  • Babies crying during worship.
  • People having side conversations.
  • Phone call interruptions.
  • What people are doing in their cars while driving.

Make an Appointment . . . With Yourself

I've started booking meetings with myself - to read a favorite book, to write in my Journal, to call and catch up with friends, and to do content creation work. I've given myself permission to create, to play, and to nap - all things that renew my body, mind, and soul. I've come to the conclusion that essential elements in my daily routine must include time for creative play, personal reflection, and tending to specific projects I'm passionate about

Play with the Acronym SCAMPER

SCAMPER is a checklist of idea-spurring questions. Some of the questions were first suggested by Alex Osborn, a pioneer teacher of creativity. They were later arranged by Bob Eberle into this mnemonic. 
  • Substitute something
  • Combine it with something else. 
  • Adapt something to it. 
  • Modify or Magnify it. 
  • Put it to some other use. 
  • Eliminate something. 
  • Reverse or Rearrange it. 

The SCAMPER exercise is another way of noticing that creates new possibilities base on how are reframe or arrange things. I ask questions about objects and activities such as:
  • What procedure can I substitute my workout plans for something else? 
  • How can I combine working out with another activity?
  • What can I adapt or copy from someone else's workout approach? 
  • How can I modify or alter my workout routine? 
  • What can I magnify or add to the way I workout? 
  • How can I put my workout plans to other uses? 
  • What can I eliminate from my current workout routine?
  •  What is the reverse of working out? 
  • What rearrangement of workout routine might work better? 
  • Prod your imagination with SCAMPER questions, and then continue asking 
Every day is an opportunity to rethink, reimagine and reinvent what we say, think, and do. Everyday is an opportunity to see life and our settings from new angles of vision. Make everyday reinvention part of your daily routine.


  1. In what ways do you help clients think out of the box?
  2. In what ways can coaches help clients be more self-aware about themselves?
  3. What are some exercises you invite clients to "try on" to evoke new awareness?
  4. What are some tools you can use to help leaders think more deeply and creatively?

No Comments