We are taught how to speak, but we are hardly taught how to see because it is assumed that you either see or you don’t, meaning you either have sight or not.
We assume that if you can see, you don’t need to be taught how to see. I think this is not true.
Looking and seeing are not the same thing.
We can all look at the same thing and see different things.
Do you look at your partner and see just good looks, manicured nails and makeup, or do you see talent, warmth, humility, loyalty and a winning partnership. If all you see are exteriors only, and fail to see talent, warmth and loyalty that lies beyond looks, then you are looking but not seeing.
It is easy to look and see tangible things, but it is not easy to see intangibles.
It is not easy to deal with depression because you are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames. And so, as depression is largely is unseen, it is easy for stigma to survive. Depression is going out with friends and laughing then immediately feeling empty for no apparent reason. Your friends will look and see a happy face, but not a sad soul.
Learning how to see is being able to see beyond your friend’s smile and see the pain she is going through and talk to her about it.
When I look at my scars on my body, I don’t see misplaced ugly tissues, I see survival, triumph against all odds, strength beyond imagination, healing, overcoming, courage. I see scars I carry, carry me.
Learning how to see is about seeing things that other people don’t see. I’m not talking about seeing ghosts or being a fortune teller or palm reader who claims to see the future and can tell us our future but can’t give us lotto winning numbers.
Learning how to see is about seeing beyond what the naked eye sees, it is to understand beyond what you are looking at.
Learning how to see is about connecting the dots, not just looking at them. It is about connecting a sea of information into knowledge and into intelligence.
There is no doubt that today, we have plenty of information, having access to information is no longer a competitive advantage since most people have access to it. What sets us apart today is how we analyse and interpret that information into knowledge and intelligence.
We can look at the same information but not come to the same conclusion. Those who know how to see will come up with knowledge and intelligence, those who don’t know how to see will only see data.
Learning how to see is about seeing beyond newspaper headlines, seeing beyond trends, seeing where real development is heading and how to prepare for it.
As part of paying tribute to Deputy Constitution Court judge, Dikgang Moseneke who recently resigned, my friend Rose Francis posted this on her Facebook wall:
“A man who whilst in business as one of the founder members of Corporate Africa and I, a rookie in Investor Relations, presented me with the choice. Either ‘present intelligence or don’t present at all,’ I am not interested in mere information”
Justice Moseneke knows how to see, he wants and sees intelligence. You can argue that he is a judge and therefore should know how to see. Education is important but it is not an automatic tool to seeing.
Learning how to see is the difference between collecting the dots, and connecting the dots, between collecting degrees and certificates and collecting wisdom and intelligence.
Learning how to see is the difference between surviving daily and thriving in the future.
Learning how to see is knowing the difference winning the battle and winning the war.
Learning how to see is about seeing beyond the surface, seeing beyond the hype and frills, beyond smoke and mirrors, beyond the fanfare.
When we look at shopping malls mushrooming in the country, people look and see progress, while others see a market to explore, or is it to exploit by creating a culture of consumerism.
In business learning how to see is the difference between Uber and meter taxis. Uber sees it, Nokia missed it.
When you look at your business, what do you see? When you look at your desk at work, what do you see?
If all you see a desk, a laptop, some files, and a coffee mug, chances are you are looking but not seeing.
Learning how to see is realising that everything connects to everything else and seeing the entire connected picture and doing something about it.