The power of active observation for entrepreneurs

There’s an awesome stand up act that Jerry Seinfeld does in his “I’m telling you for the last time”. In that he tells the audience a secret about men.

The question on many women’s mind is “What are men thinking about?” is his premise. He goes on to say “Let me clue you on to the secret women. Here’s what men are thinking.”


We are just walking around, looking at stuff.

Its pretty funny and mostly true. Its also true of most people, not just men. Most of our “thinking time” is spent thinking about nothing.


That’s such a waste of time.

What I think it really means is its not worth sharing what we are thinking about.

We are “constant dreaming” about mundane useless stuff and our thoughts wander to more useless stuff.

While we go about some daily routines, we are still thinking and less “observing”.

Most successful entrepreneurs I know have a heightened sense of observation.

They watch everything. I mean they observe at least 50-80% more than the average person.

Most non-entrepreneurs people see the same things an entrepreneur does, but they dont observe.

A technique I use is active observation. It is seeing, then asking questions. As you know, questions are the root of solving interesting problems.

To discipline yourself to constantly keep observing, you have to train your mind to look, then ask. Not keep looking and neither keep thinking.

There is a downside to active observation. Its that you are not in the “present”. Critics will point to the mind-rest that your brain needs which helps it recuperate and rejuvenate. They might also say you should go with the flow to generate great results.

I prefer active observation when I am thinking about ideas and problems to come up with which need solving.

P.S. Post a few comments on facebook, I wanted to clarify that active observation is observing then doing. By default I assume most entrepreneurs are doers. Many though confuse doing (action) for progress.

3 thoughts on “The power of active observation for entrepreneurs”

  1. Active Observation !! Very nicely coined and explained…I also like the way Jidu Krishnamurthy explains this. If there is no question then there is no answer. The only way to understand the problem better is to have the ability to ask right question.

    I think the ability to ask right question is more powerful than the ability to answer it right.

  2. Good start to the morning watching Seinfeld do what he does best….Thanks for the laughs:-)

    On the topic of keen observation powers, a humorist/stand-up comedian such as Jerry Seinfeld is a fine example of someone who has a finely developed sense of observation – for how else would one collate the content for shows such as this, if you cant look at the ordinary, the mundane, the accepted – which most view as normal no matter how absurd – and turn the very same observations into witty, mirthful, laugh-a-minute riot of an entertainment act that rake in the moolah from his world-wide audience.

    It is the same kind of intelligence that can observe and interpret data differently, creating an exchange of values, which is what most entrepreneurs seek to do with their ventures.

    For the vast majority of humanity – keen observation powers are seldom cultivated or developed. Our culture (starting with the creativity-strangling education system) trains mouldable minds to enter a workforce that is obedient and conforms to the norm, asking questions or viewing situations from multiple perspectives is not welcome; in fact is actively snuffed out. Creativity or viewing things from multiple perspectives is discouraged, learning by rote and having only one right answer is the dictum – so its going to be a rarity to find adults in the workforce or elsewhere that have the ability to be keen observers, question the status quo, or look at situations differently.

    There may be other reasons as well, but oftentimes entrepreneurs respond to the siren call of setting up their own ventures simply because conforming to the norm becomes impossible after a point of time. Staying within the defined norm becomes suffocating; therefore the response to the call for entrepreneurship.

    Good day all:-)

Comments are closed.