Steven Blanton ~ Leaderocity

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Watch Where You're Going / Ten Things to Know for Discovery

It’s funny, the things you see by simple observation. Just peel back those eyelids and things just happen right in front of you. You may not fully comprehend it all when it is occurring since the eye simply sees what the light brings in. Eyes don’t do any translation; they simply take it in. It is in the brain that all those pixels get turned into meaning.
For example, while shopping in a shoe department, without notice, I saw a guy put on a brand new pair of his favorite shoes and just walk out without making the obligatory stop at the checkout. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I stood there in stunned silence. My brain took in the data and after a few seconds of processing, I shared the intel with the store clerk who promptly did nothing about it.
On another occasion I once saw an accident when a pickup truck, trying to avoid hitting a car, ran up on the sidewalk. The interesting thing was that the spare tire, which rides along under the bed of the truck, got caught on something and flew out into the air. It must have been compressed by the object and then all that energy got released into inertia allowing for a wingless-tire flight. The height of its air travel was inexplicable as it must have reached 30 ft before being reclaimed by gravity. It was an amazing sight for sure and all I did was simply see it.
There is plenty to learn by keeping one’s eyes open while moving through the time-line continuum we call life. Recently, I spent some time on the shores of South Carolina. Even in the winter, or maybe especially so, the sand and the beach extend the Siren’s call to come closer. I walked for miles nearly everyday I was there. It was relaxing and gave perspective to the rhythms of life as the waves met the sand in their tidal swings. One afternoon, I headed down to the ever-changing shoreline and followed the beach in my usual westward-windward route. The Carolina beach there has coarse, gray sand and thousands of seashells litter the water’s edge where the tide washes them in. Beach-combers and metal detectors rule the day. I always wonder what people think they will find up from the deep and beached. They are surely on a mission to find that which was lost and perhaps cash-in on the misfortune of others, mercenarily speaking. It is the one who has a sharp eye and can spot a tiny glimmer in a momentary glint of sunlight who is gratified for his efforts.
Mine was a less than mercenary walk; I was just clearing my head and getting some perspective on the New Year and life in general. It seems to give proportion to the little bothersome things that tend to grate on me. I really had no intentions of dragging my eyes along the sandy surface in some futile hope of finding anything at all. It was like looking at a seashell mosaic multiplied by millions. I was not a beach-comber and had no designs to become one.
It is so strange how things have a tendency to converge in the most unlikely of scenarios. The chances of such convergences are beyond comprehension and boggle the mind when they are considered. On a certain day I went down to the beach and the tide was at a certain point and the sand was just wet enough and the sun was just high enough and the walk was on just the right trajectory. And at just the right moment I looked down to catch a glimpse of what appeared to be a small circular object on a nearly uninhabited beach. My brain went to work and sorted through all the memories of things I had ever seen that resembled the object. There among the strewn jetsam was a small treasure that appeared to be a semi-buried aluminum bottle cap. In those brief seconds of “thin slicing” the information carried by the eyes I reached out to scoop it from its shallow and watery grave. Retrieving it, I brushed away the residue of sand to reveal its identity. It was a man’s ring, silver and new, with creative images forged into its surface. It was crafted with comfort edges typical of the wide band that it was. And it was my size. Incredibly, it was salvaged from the certain ruin that awaited it as the moon made its rise and departure to reclaim the shore. How improbable that I should find this surprise amongst the flotsam refuse. Had I not come along in the providence of time, it would be sitting in the silt just off shore.
So, what are you looking for? How are your powers of observation invested to bring something unexpected and new to you? When you wake in the morning, take a look around you to see if anything in your life projects an unexpected glimmer. Find better ways to “thin slice” the data your brain is feeding you to help you discover enhanced opportunities to be good at what you love. It requires times of solitude and ponderance; times of keeping your eyes open and your brain engaged. You may feel as alone as a man walking on the winter beach. But it is in those moments, undistracted by the noise of the mundane that you are most capable of seeing the overlooked and hidden. When your career looks like a “seashell mosaic” indistinguishable from others, open your eyes to let in some light. You may be seconds away from stumbling over your own personal treasure and one simple blink away from finding it.

Ten Things to Know for Discovery

1. Learn to expect the unexpected
2. Follow the disciplines of solitude and the contemplative life
3. Dare to reach into the mud to grasp something shiny
4. Develop new instincts for knowing and discovering
5. Learn to trust your instincts and act on them
6. Realize that there is a rhythm to discovery
7. Walking a familiar path brings its own rewards
8. Some discoveries allow only one chance
9. Time and life have converged for this very moment
10. Not everything that glitters is gold

©WalkWay Group, all rights reserved. Steven Blanton

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