Book: Reflections

Reflections - bringing attention to your daily life by Désirée Steinmann

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Reflections of the Week

Are you a critical observer or engaged participant?

2011-06-02 18:51 (comments: 1)

If you are not totally impassive, that is to say neutral, without any opinion or emotion, you are somewhere on the line between being a critical observer and an engaged participant. Of course, the characteristics of individual people are very unique and I do not want to suggest that all people are equally strongly wired. In difficult times we tend to see an intensification of these characteristics, no matter if we are observing a partnership, employees of a company, a political party or other groups of people.
Let's take a look at these two types of players. May I introduce, Mr. Gripe (the critical observer) and Mr. Doer (the engaged participant).
In a company meeting the topics of cost pressure and thus possible savings were being discussed. Mr. Gripe immediately starts to point out how much more money other departments are wasting, and that one should first take cash from the "wealthier" whose mistakes in the past led to the dilemma in and of itself. He distances himself completely from the problems and their consequences. He feels like a victim and is searching for a guilty party.
Mr Doer, on the other hand, feels accountability to tackle the issues and turn around the situation. He is looking forward, searching for solutions, sees the light and believes that he can achieve something if he becomes active and remains flexible. He learns from the past, analyzes the situation, listens attentively to others, motivates his employees, builds teams and develops possible solutions for the problem. The challenge stimulates him and releases new energy. He takes responsibility and finds solutions.
How do you judge yourself when you review the last 4 weeks? Are you Mr. or Mrs. Gripe, or Mr. or Mrs. Doer? Who would you rather be? Often we slip into a behaviour pattern without realizing it consciously. As soon as you recognize that you have slipped into a pattern that is more of a hindrance than it is useful, you have everything it takes to change it! If, in your environment (family, company, clubs), you would like to call someone's attention to their behaviour, just send this newsletter along or print it out and lay it on their desk... perhaps an good conversation will develop that can change a lot ... and already you are Mr. or Mrs. Doer!




It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.


Theodore Roosevelt 



It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone's fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I'm one of Us. I must be. I've certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We're always one of Us. It's Them that do the bad things.


Terry Pratchett

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Comment by Chad | 2012-03-10

Observers enable the doers to focus on the critical tasks. They are not mutually exclusive and sometimes doers without observers create a whole mess of problems. On the other hand, observers need the doers to complete tasks at hand. They are not at odds. They are complementary...