How can paying more attention to the world around us increase our engagement and creativity?
Most of us are fighting a daily tug-of-war with distraction – from phone alerts to streaming video to open office plans. Yet, when it comes to what we can do about it, we’re mainly encouraged to manage our tech and prioritize productivity.
Rob Walker offers a different goal, along with a very different set of solutions. Author of the book, The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday, he contends that our lives become richer when we engage more fully with the world around us. In fact, he reveals what most creatives already know, namely, that paying attention to the everyday can refuel us: “It’s kind of just a basic building block of having a distinct point of view or creating something new or coming up with an innovation of almost any kind.”
In this interview, Rob shares practices we can use to become more observant and more connected. One example involves taking a moment to notice which phase the moon is in: “Most people have no idea, which is kind of astonishing, because there was a time when everyone on the planet knew what phase the moon was in.”
Rob is a columnist for Life Hacker and contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, and Bloomberg Businessweek. He’s also author of the books, Buying In and Significant Objects, and he serves on the faculty at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.