Participants and Observers

The other day we took our oldest daughter to an event. It was the kind of crowded event where people travel for miles to attend with lots of traffic and long lines. We witnessed large groups of people who either dressed up or dressed alike as they walked past us. It was a pretty amazing experience to watch people want to be part of something big.

During the actual event, it became clear that there are two types of people:

Participants, and Observers.

Participants leap with both feet into the experience. Observers watch from the sideline.

Participants take risks. Observers are reserved.

Participants don’t seem to care what others think. Observers are self-conscious.

Participants dress up in goofy costumes. Observers wear their normal clothes.

Participants believe. Observers are skeptics.

My daughter and all of the other Participants seemed to be living life in that moment and letting themselves become lost in the experience as the cares of the world melted away. The Observers seemed resigned to watch, unable to detach from everyday life and its many stresses and problems. Slowly, the Participants encouraged the Observers to join them and be part of the event. As the night wore on, most of us were Participants, even just for a moment.

How often do we find ourselves as Observers when we really want to be Participants? 

Does fear, skepticism, or what others may think, keep us in our seats?

To the Participants: Thank you for jumping in and showing us the way.

To the Observers: You can play too, and it will be worth it.