I'm not much into "sizing people up" consciously - you'll generally get a feel for people, but I don't have any sort of training to pick up advanced little nuances that give insight into someone's character.
While most people stare blankly forwards at their shoes as they move through life, a few select people seem to have eyes that have a lot of awareness.
This "light of awareness" is actually an amazing predictor of curiosity, intelligence, and a person just being overall interesting.
What is it, exactly?
Hard to say.
It's a certain curiosity, a registering of the environment, something... partially it might be metaphorical, it might not be just in the eyes exactly. But it's definitely in the mix of eyes, posture, facial expression, and movement - and if you can pick up who has it, you'll meet a lot more interesting people.
Sometimes you walk into a room, and only one person out of many has the light of awareness. They're probably the most interesting person in the room.
Occasionally - rarely by accident - you'll be in a room where everyone has the light of awareness going on. This is incredible.
It's something worth looking for. When you're in a space with a lot of people and everyone is harried and frenzied and unengaged, and you're calm and taking in the environment and spot someone else who is the same - very likely you could click, and very likely they'll have interesting things to say and enrich each other's lives.
I don't really size people up consciously. But the light of awareness? Yeah, look for that one.
I found this in a nursing home: dozens of old, dull, lifeless people, and just one light. The light was in a gentleman who couldn't speak well, but he saw everything. I asked about him and discovered he had owned a business. Funny thing, this light seems to correlate with autonomy and entrepreneurship.
No idea why, but I think it has to do something with this:
It just seems like the sort of thing that would be connected.
Feynman had it, but he said it usually took awhile before anything came of it. His method was to go to the same place for a few nights and just watch. Most people would get bored and leave after a few hours into the first night, but he would just wait until something awesome happened (usually it involved women.)
Also, if the people who aren't bright look at their shoes, does that mean those that shine tend to look up?
My stance on this is that everyone has an interesting story and it's my responsibility (because I'm responsible for my own happiness) to have to skill to tease it out of them if necessary. As an example one might find themselves on a blind date and realize that the necessary chemistry/attraction isn't present to warrant a second date, but that doesn't necessarily mean the present moment has to be cast in a negative light. Of course we all prefer curious and interesting people that are easily engaged.
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Second, we have this wonderful tour-de-force interview: it starts by covering how Tynan made the shift from unfocused to focused, how to derive internal enjoyment from things, useful actionable exercises you can do right now, Tynan's method and mindset for producing creative work consistently, how to set up great habits and an excellent mental and physical work environment, and how to make blogging work and similar endeavors work for you.
Total Focus; Total Enjoyment by Tynan, as told to Sebastian Marshall
When I turned 30 and I had a minor freak out… I thought, "I'll be 40 in not long, and then 50… there's things I want to do in my life, and they're not happening at this pace."
Before that, I had a general idea of things I wanted to do and have in my life, but I went about in an unstructured way. It was good in a lot of ways. It made be a broad process, but not much depth.
In Buddhism there's this great concept of near-enemies and far-enemies. Two things are far-enemies if they are polar opposites: the far enemy of compassion is cruelty. But near-enemies are more subtle: they seem very similar at first, but when you look deeper, they're still opposites. The near-enemy of compassion, for example, is pity. They kind of seem like the same thing, because both mean you "feel bad" for someone else, but compassion is dignified and brings you closer together. Pity is condescending. It distances you from the other person.
Far-enemies aren't that interesting to me because they're pretty obvious. Polar opposites. Ho-hum. But I love near-enemies, because there's a lot to talk about in the subtlety.
So let's talk about two of the biggest near-enemies of all: self-consciousness and self-awareness.
Superficially, they seem very similar. Both of them are about paying attention to yourself, your thoughts, words, and actions in the present moment.