Strengths and Looking vs. Seeing: Why Seeing the World is Akin to Feeling Alive

SillhouetteLifeEDITJanuary 29, 2016

5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas

Looking and seeing are not the same thing, and it matters which one we do more of in our lives.

To look is to “direct your gaze in a specified direction”, while to see is to “discern visually”—that is, seeing requires something of our mind, while looking only necessitates our eyes.

We can look at our lives; we can look at the people in them; we can look at our actions; we can look at the world…but it isn’t until we can see these things that we are able to evaluate them, learn and grow from them, and truly value their existence.

It’s similar to the difference between being alive, which is biological, versus feeling alive, which, in addition to being biological, is also mental, emotional, spiritual, and social—one is a passive state, while the other is an activity.

It’s easy to fall into a rut of looking at the world and merely being alive in it; when we begin to name and affirm our qualities and put mental and physical actions behind them, we begin to see and feel our greatness.  We are each worth being seen.

Three Questions

In what areas of my life am I feeling truly alive?

Are there areas of my life where I am coasting, in a rut, or exhausted?

What is one action that I could take to see more of my life as opposed to just looking at it?

An Action

Desired Result: Practice Seeing vs. Looking

Concrete Action: To make this work you must do it right now—it only takes a second.  Without turning around and looking, describe in the greatest detail what, exactly, is behind you.  It might be that you are in a place you’ve been a million times (at home, at the office, in your parked car, or at the gym) or maybe you are in some place new.  Either way, how many details are you truly aware of—colors, scale, numbers of things, area, size?  It’s easy to float through places or to get so used to them that we don’t really see them any more.  (We might even do this with people.)  Now, turn around and see how you did.  As you do this part, note that you are likely to be truly seeing the space that you are in—truly taking it in with all its details and nuances and, perhaps, strangeness.  Imagine always seeing the world in this way.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

 Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:


Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s