Obsessive Observation Disorder!

Observation is something that all of us human beings do on a daily basis. Those who do it more are supposed (more of self-supposition than by others!) to be more intelligent as they can foresee problems and understand hidden messages many times before the rest of the crowd does it. It has a good place in both science and philosophy. What I want to discuss about it today is not the science behind it and the philosophy about it or the benefits of doing it. It is the list of problems of doing it too much, i.e. overdoing it. I have been a victim of this many times myself. It has three major problems as far as I have observed (I want everything that I have done to be called ‘observed’, not as ‘seen’ or ‘heard’, as I feel superior about being a good observer!).

The first problem that I have observed is that all those who spend good amount of their time observing the people and objects around get addicted to the act of observation. It is like any addiction. Beyond a point it gets too much and becomes the sole of purpose of the life. Wherever I go, I just observe. ‘Observe… observe… observe… do nothing else’ becomes the mantra of life. I observe everything that moves and stays around. I observe many minute and hidden things that are not visible to normal human eyes. I spend too much time in observing that I end-up having no time to do anything else productive. I over-analyze things and come to too many conclusions, which are of no use after some time. When I go to meeting or training I focus too much on people and their behaviors, but fail to focus on the content part, which is more critical than the format. When I play a game I focus too much on observing aspects that are not to be bothered so much, but fail to win the game. When I drive I focus too much on noticing the beauties (not just the beauty that comes to your mind) on the roadside and don’t see the vehicle going in front, which would land me in a life-time trouble.

The second problem is similar to the first one or complementary to that. What happens here is that those who spend long hours observing the world start looking at everything for fun. I get a special eye to sense things that others can’t see, but don’t see the simple things that one can’t afford to miss. Everyone looks funny. Every act seems crazy. Sometimes those who speak even at times of need become a spectacle. I kind of get critical and negative about everything in life. We are the people who murmur in all silent meetings and public gatherings. I become shy of even breathing in public. I neither stand up for what is right for me nor for others. I discourage those who do things that I can’t do. I am just a good critic. For me, observation is a superior act than doing itself. If I can't even use it to do things better when my turn comes, what is the point in doing it? Sometimes I become very talkative as I have observed too much to talk about. Sometimes I have no time to even talk as I am busy observing all funny things around. You have a view on everything, yet you don’t do anything. It is not that you should not have views on things that you can’t do (In fact, in one of my previous posts, I had strongly advocated having views on as many things as possible even if you can’t do anything about many of them), but it should not become so that you will only have views and not even try those things that you can do successfully.

The third one is a scientifically accepted point. All observations are biased. Those who observe just look for the wanted answers. I don’t see the right answers; I don’t see the good answers; I only want the answers that I already have in my mind. I just use my observations as a tool to confirm or strengthen my own beliefs. Nothing more! Nothing less! I don’t try to gain anything extra by observing. I don’t even use it to validate my beliefs. I am not open to opposite views and new avenues. This makes me close-minded, open to only supporting arguments for my own beliefs. This never enhances my knowledge laterally, but only strengthens my beliefs. It leads to selective observation and gets no new conclusions.  What I understood over a period was that such people should consciously challenge their own beliefs at regular intervals and look for opportunities to thrash them through their observations if they really want to make good use of their observation skills.

Let me conclude with the disclaimer. It is not bad to observe. I never meant to say “don’t observe” by writing this piece. It is a great gift to those of you who spend a lot of your idle time observing. It’s not that others don’t think. They just spend their time in thinking about things that they already have in their mind (I mean preoccupied with the stored data instead of looking outwards for inputs to start thinking about anything) whereas you spend your time in thinking about things that you are observing - sensing, i.e. seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting, at the very moment. By observing things that happen around and by being aware of the environment, you avoid a lot of problems that others have no clue about. There are only three problems of overdoing it, but there may be dozen benefits that you may get by doing it appropriately. So, continue to observe everything around you and enjoy, but just be watchful of the addiction, negativity and bias while doing it. It would work wonders.


  1. hello!This was a really fabulous subject!
    I come from roma, I was luck to search your theme in wordpress
    Also I get much in your theme really thank your very much i will come again

  2. Thank you so much. I was doubtful if I was posting a very dry matter. Good there is someone who could relate to it. It really makes me happy and gives me a lot of confidence to write more, if you really meant it! :)

  3. Your posts seem to me like essays. And I mean it as a compliment :)

    I am kinda aware of the superiority complex one gets when s/he indulges in what you call as obsessive observation disorder. Such high-headed approach takes you nowhere.

    1. Thanks, Rohan. Long time... Hope you are doing good.

      Exactly! Everything and every one look funny to some of these people!!


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