Gretchen Rubin

Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly.

Want to View the World with Fresh Eyes? 13 Tips to See More Clearly.

I've recently developed an obsession with color -- what a gorgeous, fascinating topic! It makes me so happy to learn about color.

One reason I love studying color is that it helps me notice the world. I tend to walk around very absent-mindedly; I hardly see anything around me. For me to be present in the moment, and to connect with the world, I need a hook.

Looking at colors is one great hook, and there are many others, too:

  1. Notice colors -- I push myself to notice the color of the sky; the contrast between the orange cone and the gray sidewalk.
  2. Look in a mirror -- things look different in a mirror.
  3. Look at a picture of an object. Jamaica Kincaid wrote "Why is a picture of something real eventually more exciting than the thing itself?" A question that haunts me. Related...
  4. Look at an object alongside a picture of it. I heard about this strategy as a way of appreciating art more. Buy a postcard of an artwork, then study the artwork while you hold up the postcard. I'm dying to try this.
  5. Pretend to be a journalist -- journalists notice things in a different way. Similarly...
  6. Pretend to be a tourist. Look at the shop windows! How people line up for the bus! What are people wearing?
  7. Draw -- this one doesn't appeal to me, but many people swear by it.
  8. Go someplace new -- I've lived in my New York City neighborhood for more than a decade, and still I sometimes stumble onto a street I swear I've never walked before.
  9. Return to a familiar place after a long time away -- go back to your old school; stop into the grocery store where you shopped when you lived in your old house. Fascinating.
  10. Imagine that you have guests coming to stay for the weekend -- a great way to see your home in a new way. Along the same lines...
  11. Imagine that you will sell your house -- you see it through the eyes of a judgmental stranger
  12. Notice contrasts, when two worlds are juxtaposed --school-children on a sidewalk in front of a business;  a horse-and-buggy clopping down the highway
  13. Look with a child -- it's such a sentimental cliche to say it, but children really do see the world with fresh eyes.

What hooks do you use to help yourself see the world more vividly?

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