The Observer vs. the Active Participant

Just yesterday I was reminded of how easily we become observers in our own lives. “Oh, would you look at that? I got the flu…” We watch things happen to us and we react to them. Now, I don’t want you to expect me to explain to you how to live free of the flu in this blog, but I do have a point here.

I see so many people experiencing life like they are watching it on a big screen with a bowl of popcorn in their lap. Great things happen, misery strikes, and the rest of it lies some where in the middle. The most critical element of this type of thinking has nothing to do with the details, however, and it has everything to do with the mindset surrounding it.

Treating your life as if you are an observer completely misses the boat when it comes to personal responsibility. The opposite worldview that takes the role of active participant represents everything the observer doesn’t. This idea that the flu, for example, simply comes and goes breeds a notion that you’re powerless in this life. Furthermore, being middle class, because that’s obviously who you are infers much of the same. Maybe not all, but part of having the flu and part of being middle class is a situation we’ve chosen with thoughts and actions. I’m probably statistically not yet reached the heights of middle class yet, and I’ve had the flu and I’ll have it again but my mind set couldn’t be further from that of the observer.

Barbell Club was quite the party this past Saturday!

Barbell Club was quite the party this past Saturday!

The observer takes the victim role, for better or worse. He/she is susceptible to good movies and bad movies, just like he/she is susceptible to happiness and sadness, but Lord knows he/she won’t have anything to do with those outcomes. My problem with this prime-time-television, Johnny Every-Other-American, simpleton attitude is that it’s a cop out. The moment your life is understood as what happens to you is the same moment you give up all personal responsibility.

I choose to be an active participant because I want to be responsible for all the wealth, influence, and happiness in my life. And to be honest, I want to be just as responsible for the failures and days of pay check to pay check living, too. Sure, I get the flu. But, the active participant gets the flu and knows why. He/she agrees that they got the flu and earned it with his/her recent lack of sleep, faulty nutrition, and/or bad luck. The same active participant understands exactly why they earned “partner” in his/her law firm, too. They understand that the promotion simply didn’t happen to them, they created it.

So, who are you? Are you the observer or active participant in your life?


Logan Gelbrich


Monday’s Workout:

Complete 10 rounds:
Max Rep Strict Press (65/45)
Sprint 100 yards

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