By Ann Vanino

“The life which is unexamined is not worth living.” – Plato

Do you use your powers of observation to succeed at work?

Last week, a client and I were discussing how to develop her personal power at work. She told me that a friend of hers told her she “watched what the big guys did” and now was being promoted. Her friend had used her powers of observation to get ahead at work.

How can you use your powers of observation to better your life? Observing life allows you to look deeply into how things work. Let’s take the example above. If you are working in an organization, a lot can be learned through observation. You can observe how people interact, what your boss’s style is around the office, what types of behavior gets results and what does not. You can observe what brings reward and punishment.

If you work with a person of power, you can learn from how they act. Observe the way they hold their body, their clothing and image, the words they use, how they get what they want, and how they define success. You can look at what results from their interaction with you and others.

You can observe yourself at work. How do you carry yourself at work? How do you get your job done? How do you get what you want? How do others respond to you?

Your powers of observation can be used in all aspects of your life – your relationships, your dealings in the outside world, and your attitudes towards life itself. How can you develop your powers of observation? Start by clearing yourself of strong emotions or negative attitudes as you begin. Come from a place of witnessing. Then, start observing. Make note of how things go. Make some conclusions about what you see.

What makes a good observer? For observation to be fruitful, you must be fully present in the moment and remove biases. The purpose of observation is to learn. You must give yourself time. You must deepen your understanding of human nature, to give a context to your observation. You must test out your conclusions, determine if they were accurate and identify what you learned from them.

Observing negative behavior also has its value. If you observe someone trying to control or manipulate you, for example, there is much to be learned. By observing negative behavior you can sharpen your ability to rise above it. You can better determine how to serve your own interests and retain your balance in the face of negative behavior.

You will deepen in knowledge and find what you need to better your life by sharpening and using your powers of observation. Take off what’s blinding you. Open your eyes and see what is before you.

So, are you ready to take some action? Here is something you can do to better your powers of observation.

  • Pick a person to observe in the next week. Write down what you learn, what you will change, and how your point of view is different as a result of your observation.

©Copyright 2007 – 2015 by Ann E. Vanino
All rights reserved in all media.