Observations and Experiences

I’m an ‘observer’ and so is John. We’d much rather observe what’s going on around us than jump right into the activity. We have a couple of observer kids…and one experientialist. (I like making up words. I’m really sorry if that confuses non-English-speakers and so I’ll translate that for you as ‘one who experiences’.) It’s interesting to note that both ‘observe’ and ‘experience’ can be used as action verbs but only experience can be used as a noun, too. For the word ‘observe’ to used as a noun, the word ending must be changed. I find that interesting!

Observation is very important when you are working toward any goal. You need to be aware of your surroundings and the atmosphere of the area you will be heading into, whether that is a tangible place or a figurative one. You need to observe to be creative and come up with new ideas. But I have to keep reminding myself that observation isn’t enough on its own. Once the observing is done, you must move on to experience.

Experiencing new things is scary to me but I know it is a necessary thing if I am to continue growing and moving forward. It’s the same for a business, too. If you never try new things in your business, it will grow stagnant. New ideas keep your business fresh and keeps the customers interested. Of course, how often you incorporate new ideas and try new things in your business must stem from the goals you set and work toward.

I think one reason I have a hard time implementing new ideas is because I tend to be a perfectionist by nature. I’ve worked hard to get myself out of those habits but I have a hard time not being the total opposite. I often describe myself as an ‘all-or-nothing’ type person and a ‘whatever’ type of person. By this, I mean that whatever I do, I generally tend to hyper-focus on it. It’s great when I’m doing chores around the house but not so great when I’m immersing myself in a hobby and the chores are left undone. When I say I’m a ‘whatever’ kind of person, I simply mean that I’ve learned a little more that it’s OK for things not to go the way I expected or wanted them to go. I’ve tried using lists to keep up with what’s been done and what needs to be done. Those usually get forgotten after about 3 weeks. I have been somewhat more successful with school planning, finally finding a system that works for us several years ago. (Yes, I’m a slow thinker. /Observer/…) So I know I am able to accomplish these kinds of things because I have done them and been successful. I just need to keep at it. /We/ just need to keep at it.

So…”Observer” or “Experientialist”? Which are you?

“We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe’, but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.” ~ Maria Montessori

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it – and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid.  She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.”  ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, Following the Equator, 1897

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