Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Are you paying Attention? Why not?

Many inquiries have come lately about this past season’s television hits, Lie To Me [Season 2 Premiers on Fox, September 29, 9:00 PM ET] and The Mentalist [Season 2 Premiers on CBS, September 24, 10:00 PM ET]. What both have in common is that someone is paying attention. Not the kind you fake in a weekly staff meeting; occasionally nodding, smiling and asking a follow-up question. This is scoping the room, the players and everything in between for clues. What are you seeking clues for? You might not know until you see them. On The Mentalist, Patrick Jane (played by Simon Baker), who was a psychic before his current job as an independent consultant to the California Bureau of Investigations, is little more than a great watcher. He solves the crime by noticing things others do not notice. Lie To Me is based on the well-researched findings of Paul Ekman. The main character, psychologist Dr. Cal Lightman (played by Tim Roth), serves as a human lie detector as he watches micro-facial expressions to detect incongruencies in a person’s story.

Neither of these talents is so unique that you could not be practicing them at home, at the office or in the bar. You may not reach expert status right away, but you can easily train yourself to have more information about a person or situation than you do now. Use these behaviors to weed out job candidates, avoid bad dates, know if your children are going where they claim. Or not. It is up to you if you want to be more clued-in to the goings on around you. Pick up Paul Ekman’s book Emotions Revealed to learn seven simple facial expressions that you think you already know how to detect. With only one percent of the population able to pass his ‘test’ on the first go around, you will be surprised. Web search “notice my surroundings” and you will find a land of plenty on being in the moment, paying attention to what is around you and other similar such titles.

Today, make a commitment to notice ten things you failed to see before in your daily routine. Write them down and draw a conclusion from each clue. It is fun, it is brainwork and it will open up new opportunities to learn, give assistance and be the life of the dinner table when you get home.

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