Go On “Wild Observer” Safari!

Photo by Dustin Humes on Unsplash

Years ago, I saw Jimmy Fallon play “Wild Nature Survivor Guy” on Sesame Street.

My life hasn’t been the same since.

It was a catchy skit performed by a performer whom I find rather charming.

The premise is that “Wild Nature Survivor Guy” is surviving in nature…on Sesame Street. Keep in mind this is a fictional street right in Manhattan, not often considered a very natural or wild place.

Since then, every once in a while, I’ll break into my version of a similar character, “Wild Observer Safari Lisa”!

I’ve always been a people watcher.

People who grow up in unpredictable families often do have a heightened sense of observation.

It seems that most people are good at people watching. It’s part of our survival instinct, after all, to pay attention to the people nearby and guess at their emotional state (dangerous, neutral, happy?).

And I enjoy it, this people-watching-with-a-purpose.

In fact, I recommend it to my clients on the regular.

So, what can I teach you about people watching?

Here are 3 unique approaches to people watching that can help you help yourself!

#1 Guess What They’re Thinking and Feeling

We see behavior and we make guesses about what the other person is thinking and feeling.

  • Try doing this on purpose but with a twist — guess 3 different thoughts and/or 3 different feelings that might motivate the action you are observing.
  • Does this slow down your mind’s assumption making machine?
  • Does this bring you from a simplified awareness to a deeper one?

#2 Imagine Swapping Places

Becoming “the other” can be an incredible way to expand your perspective of yourself.

  • Mentally change places with the person you are watching.
  • Imagine being them…doing their actions, thinking their thoughts, feeling their feelings.
  • Imagine that you — as them — then see you.
  • What comes to mind?

#3 Narrate Someone Watching You

Finally, take this a step further by floating out of them into a wider lens.

  • Imagine 3 different famous people narrating what you are doing (real or imagined, alive or dead).
  • How do they tell the story of “you” differently and similarly?

We people watch and make quick assumptions. It’s precisely how our brain is designed to operate.

We do the same thing to ourselves, but from inside our usual perspective.

As a result, we sometimes jump to conclusions, make erroneous assumptions, and otherwise miss details when we accept our brain’s first answer.

Reflect on what these exercises open up for you.

When you are on “Wild Observer Safari”, what do you learn about yourself that most surprises you?

P.S. Please click here to sign up for my free mini-class “3 Ways to Reduce Stress TODAY!”

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Lisa Schwaller

Lisa Schwaller

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Stop overworking! I help professional people find work-life balance so you can have less stress & more fun. https://lisaschwaller.com