The Art Of Observation

Sir William Osler

Sir William Osler

Sir William Osler, the eminent professor of medicine at Oxford University once stated,

There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation.”

I agree, adding only that the difficulty in acquiring this art is only surpassed by its importance.

This brief story provides a lesson on the art and skill of observation that can dramatically improve your sales, instantly.

Read carefully:

A small bottle sat upon the desk of Sir Osler. Sitting before him was a class full of young, wide-eyed medical students.

The subject of the lecture that day was the art of observation.

To emphasize his point, he announced:

“This bottle contains a urine sample for analysis. It’s often possible by tasting it to determine the disease from which the patient suffers, if we observe details.”

He then dipped a finger into the fluid and brought it into his mouth. He continued speaking:

“Now I am going to pass the bottle around. Each of you please do exactly as I did. Perhaps we can learn the importance of this technique and diagnose the case.”

The bottle made its way from row to row, each student gingerly poking his finger in and bravely sampling the contents with a frown.

Dr. Osler then retrieved the bottle and startled his students by saying:

“Gentlemen, now you will understand what I mean when I speak about details. Had you been observant, you would have seen that I put my INDEX FINGER in the bottle but my MIDDLE FINGER into my mouth!”

I’m certain those students never forgot that lesson and neither should you!

Correct  observation is both an art and a skill that can be learned. It is a function of attentive watching, carefully paying attention and noting the results.

With focused, dedicated and disciplined practice, the art of observation can become a tool to enhance every aspect of life and living.

Whether the observation is after the fact or during the action is a factor of time. The import and value of the art of observation stands alone. Its value requires no further proof, as it is a self-evident fact.

When your sales efforts seem to be rough and failing, step back and take a careful look. Are you missing something? Have you misidentified the correct source of your troubles? Are you really observing correctly?

The art of observation is arguably the most important asset in any sales activity as everything flows from this source.

Take a look and carefully observe what has been successful in your past.

Drop out the things that aren’t working, put back in the things that were, and get back to a sensible operating basis.

You’ll find it much easier to keep things on the right track.

You’ll find it much easier to keep things on the right track. Observing correctly is as much an art as it is a learned and practiced skill.

Practicing the discipline of discriminating observation will pay off in dividends far in excess of the time you spend learning how to do it.

daniel w. jacobs
© 2008-2030, all rights reserved

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2 Responses to “The Art Of Observation”

  1. “art of observation.“
    can this be learned ?
    observation after the fact vs during the action

  2. Yes, observation is an art and a skill that can be learned.

    It is a function of attentive watching, carefully paying attention and noting the results. With focused, dedicated, disciplined practice, the art of observation can become a tool to enhance every aspect of life and living.

    Whether the observation is after the fact or during the action is a factor of time. The intent of this article is to enlighten others to the import and value of the art of observation itself.

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