Brian Eno and Noticing Things

Tip from Brian Eno:

Pay attention to what you’re noticing. That’s to say, when you find yourself noticing something, look at it again. If something takes your interest, even if you can’t understand why it’s important, and even if no one else thinks it is, don’t dismiss it. Trust yourself as an antenna.

The context for this insight is even more interesting, Eno writes:

This idea came into sharp focus for me when reading a book about Chicago detectives. One of the particularly successful ones was asked how he’d developed such an accurate nose for trouble. He said: “If you find yourself doing a double take, do a triple take.” So don’t say ” Ah … it’s probably nothing important” and rationalise yourself out of looking at it. Say instead “If I noticed it, it must be important. Now in which way is it?”

Isn’t this what all the best science comes from – someone deciding to take seriously something that millions of other people could also have noticed but didn’t?

I’ve often thought that a lot of my consultancy work has often really been detective work so this quote is particularly insightful!

On this general theme, there’s even a site ‘noticings‘ devoted to ‘the game of noticing the world around you’.

Quote credit: Seize The Day

Picture credit: here


2 Responses to Brian Eno and Noticing Things

  1. Hi,

    I really, really like this; thanks for posting (here via @DavidGurteen).

    In the past I’ve had my attentional system resort to hammering me over the head until I notice something. You know, when without really paying attention, your eyes keep returning to the same paragraph, redirecting your gaze to the same part of the scene in front of you, until you think “hey! what is it about this that’s so darn interesting or relevant that my attentional system keeps redirecting me here?” It’s amazing how much we notice before we’re really in a state of noticing.

  2. radiocitizen says:

    Go to More Dark Than Shark at for everything about Brian Eno…

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