The art of observing

Prathamesh Krisang

When I used to wait at the bus stop during my college days to go to my hostel, I developed one of the most valuable skills I have acquired so far.

The art of observing and understanding people.

If you are a creator of any kind, this is the easiest way to de-risk yourself from big failures.

If you are going to try this, do it at your own risk. And try not to be creepy about it. ????

Almost everyday, the bus used to be 20-30 minutes late. So I started entertaining myself by observing strangers and creating random stories about who they are and what they are doing.

More like Sherlock style deduction.

Initially, things were not that interesting, but as my observations became more detailed, interesting things started revealing itself.

It became more like a live commentary in my head, of people living their normal lives, colored with my imagination.

In some cases I got to know them by interacting with them. Sometimes my guesswork was accurate, sometimes totally different from reality. With practice, it got better.

Regardless of whether my guesswork was close to reality or not, I learnt 4 lessons,

  • I can tell stories. And the art of storytelling is simply explaining your perspective to your audience.
  • People are far more interesting than they seem on the surface.
  • It revealed how I looked at the world and my preconceived notions.
  • Most people live their lives on automatic mode.

And the default behavior in automatic mode is to consume anything that comes your way.

The best way to break out of this automatic mode or what some call “the matrix” is to switch from being a consumer to becoming a producer.

And the first step to become an effective producer is to develop the skill of observing & understanding human behavior for “what it is” without worrying about “what it should be”.