By NIKLAS GOKE
September 16, 2017
“Doers must learn to watch. Watchers must learn to think. Thinkers must learn to think better.”
In every trio there is a thinker, a watcher and a doer. Take these three, for example:
Who’s who is obvious:
- Ron’s the doer. He charges right ahead and he doesn’t know what he’s doing most of the time.
- Harry’s the watcher. He observes everything and tries to process it. If you’ve ever wondered why he spends so much time of the saga on the sidelines, either incapable of acting or reluctant in deciding, that’s why.
- Hermione’s the thinker. She doesn’t just observe things, but deliberately takes time to think about them, before she gets more information. That’s what makes her so brilliant.
When you try to identify these types for the people in your life, you’ll see the thinkers are the ones who seem to have it the easiest while the doers are frustrated a lot.
That’s because this categorization corresponds to different levels of self-awareness: the thinkers know themselves best.
However, you can’t jump from one to the other overnight. It takes years of practice. I want to show you three exercises you can use to start.
1. For Doers: Apologize.
Since he does first and thinks later, Ron is often wrong. That’s why he’s making a fair share of apologies. Apologies to Harry, apologies to Hermione, apologies to his family.
As a doer, that’s one of the best things he can do.
You can’t apologize without acknowledging you’ve made a mistake. This acknowledgement is where self-awareness comes from.
We hate admitting mistakes more than making them, but when you do, you won’t turn into a hypocrite and can reflect how you can do better next time.
Apologize fast, apologize often.
2. For Watchers: Journal.
When you observe so much, it’s hard to keep track of everything without writing it down. And write a lot Harry does. He writes letters to everyone, he writes in detention and he even had a diary that one time…
This is a good idea for watchers in general.
There’s a saying by Confucius:
“You cannot open a book without learning something.” – Confucius
Well, you also can’t write a sentence without learning something. The simplest form of journaling I know is the 1-sentence journal.
Take a thought-provoking question and answer it in one sentence, but answer differently each day.
- Why did you get up this morning?
- What made you go “huh?” yesterday?
- Were you content before you fell asleep?
Even in this tiny format, journaling helps your brain structure the things you observe and get better at filtering what matters.
You’re great at watching life. Might as well remember what’s important.
3. For Thinkers: Read.
When you generally have a good sense of what’s going on, which events are most important and where action’s required, it’s up to you to now extend this knowledge at the right ends. That’s why Hermione’s favorite place is the library.
Thinkers transform their good contributions to great contributions through selective and well-timed reading.
Reading the right thing at the right time allows your neurons to find the best connections between the pictures in your mind.
This extension of knowledge always comes with a side of self-awareness: are you the kind of person who can put it to good use?
Wittgenstein prompted us to read many books to expand our language. You can only know if you’re an ambivalent person when you know what that means.
Being able to tell what you need to learn next and where you can find it is one of the highest forms of self-awareness.
A page a day goes a long way.
Doers must learn to watch. Watchers must learn to think. Thinkers must learn to think better.
Start looking around. You’ll find this pattern in all trios. Them…
…even those guys:
The question is:
Which one are you and what do you need to find out about yourself to get to the next level?