Seeing More Than Meets the Eye

Yogi Berra’s contention that you “can observe a lot just by watching,” may be more profound than simply a pedestrian statement of the obvious especially from the Hall of Fame baseball player famed as much for his mishits with words as his hits with a bat.

Consider the following examples where focused concentration and heightened observation kindled the crucible of creativity and converted the ordinary into something extra-ordinary . For example:

Imagine a chicken coup behind that fence and imagine seeing a fox clawing through to get the chicken and ending up with nothing but feathers. That’s how Eli Whitney got the idea of the claw-like machine that would pull the cotton fiber through a fence-like grid. Yogi was right: You can observe a lot just by watching.

Photo by Wilson Malone on

Imagine if you saw a wasp chewing wood into a paper-like paste to build its nest. That’s how a French scientist Rene de Reaumur first got the idea for using wood as a resource for making paper. Yogi was right: You can observe a lot just by watching.

Imagine if you took a walk in the woods and you observed how the hooks on the burrs and loops in the cotton fabric stuck together on your socks. That how Swiss engineer Georges de Mistral invented Velcro. Yogi was right: You can observe a lot just by watching.

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on

And finally, imagine if you were driving on road through a hay field and you noticed the linear pattern as farmers harvested — row by row –just like Philo T. Farnsworth did. The teenager’s row-by-row observation gave him the idea of scanning to display a picture – row by row –that led to the invention of the television screen. Yogi was right: You can observe a lot just by watching.

For more ideas on expanding your creative thinking, consider reading THINKING Like a Leader, a Leadership Mints Series Book.

THINKING Like a Leader, With Clarity is the first book in the Leadership Mints Series that develops your sense of purpose and perspective in creating, concentrating and collaborating.
The 292-page book is comprised of 77 Leadership Mints–bite-sized idea on leadership principles that like a candy mint are quickly savored and immediately rejuvenating to refresh your feeling for leading. Readers savor ImproveMINTS: a one-line summary of the of the key learning in that Leadership Mint.



Consumed like a breath mint — quick and on-the-go — a Leadership Mint is a bite-sized idea that energizes leadership behaviors and personalizes leadership principles so they are more easily remembered, more readily acted upon and more fully applied.

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