Observation vs action

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creative perspectivesI've observed that there are two ways of figuring things out: observation and action.

I'm an observer. I look at something new, study it, and gain understanding. Sometimes I'll test it out after I have observed.

For example, when Jeremy was teaching me a swimming technique, he showed me by stretching his arms in the air the way they should move through the water. I watched, but didn't mimic his actions in the air. I observed him, thought about how it worked, imagined it in my muscles. After I got it in my head, then I tried it. I do well with swimming videos--watching them over and over until I see all the fine points. Then I try the movements in the pool. Success isn't complete until I've acted, but the understanding is there before I hit the water.

Many of my friends are the opposite--they take action to learn. They see something new, fiddle with it and gain understanding. I assume they think about it as they are manipulating it. Or maybe they save thought for after they've played?

This difference in learning sometimes causes trouble between me and Tod when we're shopping. "Honey, could you please not break the display model/bang that instrument so loudly/mess with that thing we can't afford to buy?"

This week, I'll be camping on Niijima so there should be plenty of new things to encounter. I'll try to break out of observation mode and see what happens when I act on things to discover their secrets.

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