Observation is as important now as it was a thousand years ago. However, we have to do it more quickly and efficiently because we may run into fifty strangers in a day where our ancestors saw only a few.
We often see people distracted while driving (applying makeup, making phone calls, texting) and getting into traffic accidents. When we fail to observe, it leads to avoidable circumstances. It can increase the chances of being victimized. Someone may say, "I had a feeling, in the beginning, that something wasn't right."
Observation is about seeing the world around you, having situational awareness, and interpreting what others communicate verbally and nonverbally.
Good observation skills allow us to test and validate what others intend for us. Are they kind, unselfish, empathetic? Or selfish, cruel, indifferent, and apathetic? If we discover it early enough, we can spare ourselves.
Being observant does not mean being obnoxious or intrusive. It is done with subtlety and purpose. We assess for two things primarily: