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  • Originally Written: 16-Feb-2019

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The Hawthorne Effect - The Power of Observation (Intention) (INTENTION IS NOT LIVING - HAWTHORNE IS LIVING


(This section I suppose has to do with whether or not you are viewing a cup as half full, the value of doing both, the value of saying things can always be worse and things can always be better.

Before you do anything about anything in this world you need to be observing.

Hawthorne Effect

Observing problems stabilizes them, but making them a problem in the first place

Problems only exist by observing there is one and a problem is only a construct the mind uses to build its thoughts with and around. Problems create goals and through those come results. Goals are a construct through which humanity progressed from being cave dwellers to forming an agrarian society. Goals are what humanity could find as the competing force against a problem. When


Newton's First Law states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. It may be seen as a statement about inertia, that objects will remain in their state of motion unless a force acts to change the motion.



Intentions don’t build into actions because not enough attention was put to the matter. Putting things in front of you to remind you of who you want to be in the world is important on the mere basis that we are flooded with influences ad nauseum and it is very possible to lose yourself along the way if you don’t have some footing into who you are when you step out into the world.


Goals are how you truly vanquish evil in this world as they pull you from your fears instead of feeling pushed by them to make your next choice against your best wishes.


This is where we start to talk about sensation versus perspective (leading into perspective in the next chapter)



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When you sense a situation is not going how you want, what you perceive in that context is influenced by everything your brain has learned about the world and made decisions about. Your brain immediately classifies things and if it starts to start a new sensation and it comes close to other experiences it has saved that are similar to experiences we do not enjoy experiencing, then we perceive it as bad for us.


What we observe about something is how we are perceiving it and the context we are looking at something, whether it be the setting, our moods, our experiences, or our learnings, we are always looking at things within the context of our own perspective and our brains solidify the perspective we have taken as the answer to the question we have given it.


Perspective is a consequence of the direction we are viewing something from and the context we view our greatest successes and worst experiences are from the lens of our egos, which are constantly spending time trying to craft our own movie starring us.



As a person who observed others in order to stabilize their own perception of who they are, I realized many people have no idea on how they are being because they are too focused on trying to figure out what they should be doing in their next step. They are looking at others as well to figure out where they are.


If you are observing a situation in a world where you are constantly trying to figure out whether or not you are doing the right thing, then you will question everything a person does as right or wrong. Additionally, if you live in a world where you are trying to appear right all the time, you will do everything in your conscious and subconscious power to preserve that image of yourself at the expense of relationships you ruin, opportunities you miss, and an increasing trend in pain around a similar problem that you are unable to see from the seat you are choosing to sit in.


Looking at a problem over and over again can cause it to change and warp every time it is assessed and changes based on new contexts we are looking at it through.


We tend to hold onto problems until we have decided for ourselves that we understand them fully and that putting our attention onto the concept will not yield additional returns if your brain devotes more energy to creating thoughts around it.


The Hawthorne Effect is an amazing power every human has the power to harness and use because it speaks to the impact that observing your actions has on your desired outcomes in life. Spending time visualizing what success or love or joy for yourself will paint an ever detailed picture of what you think is right for you and spending time continuously doing things that feed into that vision are what stabilize a dream into reality.


Probability collapses into reality simply through the act of observation.



The Hawthorne Effect speaks to the power of repetition and how putting advertisements in front of you will eventually stabilize your actions to produce the intended effect marketers want. By creating multiple opportunities for your to observe an ad while you’re at work, in a gym, or at home, the more the idea of you having that nice jacket in different contexts starts to take shape and you suddenly have an urge to drop money on a jacket from a reteller you’ve never seen.


It works in the same way when it comes to observing the problems you are trying to tackle in life. To make real changes in the behaviors you have that produce actions you do not want you have to look at the person you are being through your actions and consciously ask yourself from various perspectives you can relate with so you can cross examine whether you are being your word by living into it aor using your word to craft your image of yourself instead.



The biggest lesson I learned from spending so much time observing my problems was that I wasn’t observing how I was being through the actions I was taking in life, that I was creating something I was aspiring for even though I was running from something. I learned that the answer to my problems wasn’t any person, medical issue, or bad luck, it was the perspective I took that there was a problem with anything in the first place.


After I completed my Master’s degree, I moved to San Francisco in the spirit of wanting to learn how to live for once and was exposed to such wild contrasts from the many rules I had written for myself about how I was going to act and be in a situation. The sensation was jarring when I started to realize I didn’t know how the fuck to be around people when it didn’t have to do with school or work or talking about some problem someone is working through. I’m far more interested in working through a problem than getting to know people because people scare me. Coming to this realization was both cathartic and devastating because, for the first time in my life, I started to really process the pain I went through that reinforced the things I told myself. I told myself I was alone, I told myself no one liked me, that I was an inconvenience that needed to be useful, I told myself I was never enough no matter what the context I was in. From that bore the incredible need to be right, to feel validated, for my experience of life, and that became the focus I developed with my observations of others.


I observed everyone and watched them be wrong while thinking I was right for keeping my thoughts to myself. I started developing habits around being incredibly flexible no matter the situation, never expressing a stance on something at risk of being made fun of, but dammit to all hell if I didn’t have the answer to everything and a need to be right about it without question.


What I learned over time was that my focus on being right created blinders to my subconscious thoughts and actions I would feel compelled to take in order to preserve this image of myself and at risk of my life continuing to evolve into my worst fears. This changed when the same perspective about how I was being to others through my life was heard in a context that enabled me to really hear it for the first time and instill the reality that I was being a controlling person. I was being mean to people for not being how I wanted them to be that would benefit my life the most instead of letting others be. I was taking opportunities from people to make a name for themselves in order to feed my ego’s need to feel like it was enough.


I think the power of the Hawthorne Effect shows up in various formats in life and I will discuss it in this book.


Getting Meta

The Hawthorne Effect speaks to how a book titled after it will have facts, thoughts, opinions, and actions placed around the concept to stabilize a person’s understanding of the concept itself. It is how a book about making a sword will discussions about swordmaking in it. It is how the goal of a project gets deconstructed into its individual actions that make up its milestones. It is how sections and sub-bullets and lines of emphasis are drawn.


The Hawthorne Effect speaks to what we think is stability in our lives because we envision a stable life as having a certain set of criteria and then take actions to stabilize our experience of the world into something we can consistently rely upon. What we define as stable is really the size of a sandbox to play in. You can only have so many things going on at once before the chaos you permit in your life starts to exceed the constraints you have around your idea of inner peace. When there are more kids than there is room in the sandbox, or when life calls for us to bust out a swingset, we tend to stay stuck on the constraints we started with because we are still holding onto something.




The Hawthorne Effect is Doing, Not Being

If you are observing something then you are observing and if you are observing yourself in action then you are not being anything you can observe yet.

Ultimately you are the worst person to ask about how you are being to others and yourself in your best and worst situations.

I struggled most with understanding who I was if I wasn’t the things I wasn’t learning I was and sought to observe everything in order to understand how the world could work if the person I am wasn’t the person everyone was envisioning for me.

I was pretty talented in school and people liked to talk about all the potential I had and being observed was always a triggering experience for me because if I were to be truly seen then I would be found out and my life would be ruined.

It made me into a person that feared being wrong, feared failure, as if their life depended on it because I refused to acknowledge there was any turning back and embracing the person that I was because he didn’t deserve love for being gay and didn’t deserve love for doing what he wanted for himself.

The things we choose to observe and focus on produce actions that directly and indirectly reinforce that image.

If you focus on the traumas and issues you experience, you’re going to keep focusing on and looking for more evidence in life that validates your experience of pain, of what is unfair, of what wronged you, instead of what you can do about it. What you can do about it is harder, especially when you’re down in the trenches with a fresh wound and the pain is so much you can’t see straight. The reason I observe for myself that causes others to struggle in finding something that pulls them through life’s hardest problems is the foundation we build thoughts from and whether we have vision to what we want out of a situation. If you’re just stuck doing what you think you should or could be doing then you are limiting the scope of choices available to you and you’re being a victim by your own cause when you repeat the same mistakes through life and you need to be observing your situation from a different context that lets you see something you didn’t previously see.



The Hawthorne Effect is pretty automatic, the only work is in shifting focus. Shifting your focus is what brings new results into your life.

The Hawthorne Effect as an Influencer

Actions yield actions

Even if the action is to sit down.

You do not become an olympian overnight

You do not learn a skillset worth applying the rest of your life as a trade

People who want to live a comfortable life will only see actions available to them in stressful situations that involve taking the easiest route and the consequence of such a decision may result in short-term relief but yields a person who evades situations and experiences that clash with what stability we can muster for ourselves. The Hawthorne Effect is what everyone who has accomplished a long-term goal and learned the value from doing so has experienced. What these people have encountered is a context of living that enriches their ability to make a decision they will live into that will produce a favorable outcome close to the one they envision.


Harnessing the Power of the Hawthorne Effect

This is demonstrated in how you invest your time, really.

You augment the perspective you have with the Hawthorne Effect when you are investing your time into the aspects of your life you want for yourself and what you say you will do for yourself.



The hawthorne effect is literally your time, and that you become the person that does the things you’re doing by carving out time in your schedule to make that room.


People who don’t have time to go to the gym, go for a walk, or on a hike, or to the store, it’s all an excuse because they deemed the investment as not valuable enough to produce enough value in the moments following. People experience a net present value to doing something based on the order of priorities they think through.




The Hawthorne Effect as a Drug

Describe what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder feels like.


Living with OCD feels like I always need to be doing something that is productive each day or I should feel bad about myself. I sit on social interactions that happen where I was being an idiot or social contracts I have violated and allow downward spirals of thought to occur to the point I have vomited from nausea because I was so dizzy in thought. I am like a robot that will hack through any problem put in front of it and enjoy the thrill of doing it but then am lost without a purpose once I’m no longer of need. If I’m conscious, my mind is active and it is difficult to see when I am going from walking to running into a new obsession. Living with OCD means I can fall into a passion like writing a book about it and generate 70 pages of content over a weekend and miss half the meals I should have had because I kept waiting one more minute to take a break. It is existing in a state of doing constantly, it is doing so much it takes you away from the people you say you love and when you pull out of a downer and take a breath your friends and family resoundingly say welcome back to this planet. It brings you up in the skies while everyone else is down here on earth right in front of you and you experience life vicariously through others if your obsessions do not take you into places you would otherwise experience. When I started realizing I was falling prey to the consequences of using the Hawthorne Effect too much under the guise of having long-term actions, I started using the Hawthorne Effect to redirect focus on what I was focusing on. I started looking at how I was budgeting my time as a leading indicator to developing an obsession as

Repeated observations are what stabilize that which is measured. Repeated sensations and associations are what influence your mind to detect and perceive a trend for it to evaluate and derive meaning from and make conscious or subconscious decisions about. The more we hear about a point, rumor, or perspective, the more we will believe it is part of a consensus of understanding.

There should be a visual about how the Hawthorne Effect is how you tunnel through life from where you’re coming from (the consensus of understanding you were raised into in a preconventional state) to where you’re going as you progress to a more post-conventional thinker.



Assumptions are paretos of our experience.

Over time I started to learn I was obsessed with completing checklists.

I was doing so much because I felt compulsions to do so much based on the tight standards I was holding for myself

I had to learn to let go of my compulsions so I could create balance for myself

Letting go of things is good because it gives you contrast

Sometimes doing more of the same thing is a bad thing because of diminishing returns.

This is why it was important for me to develop behaviors that keep me more on track with the things I really want to be doing instead of losing focus on what I wanted from the influence of what I should do in the face of a context that is a heavy influencer.



Harnessing the Power of the Hawthorne Effect

This is demonstrated in how you invest your time, really.

You augment the perspective you have with the Hawthorne Effect when you are investing your time into the aspects of your life you want for yourself and what you say you will do for yourself.


I moved focus and attention like chess pieces onto the life problem of how to be in this world if you cannot be yourself. I spent time I spent my life trying to understand the answer of the problem of how to be and what I ultimately learned after years of denial was that the best way to be in life is what feels good to you.


The hawthorne effect is literally your time, and that you become the person that does the things you’re doing by carving out time in your schedule to make that room.


Attention is how anything happens. It is how a meowing cat gets fed. It is how we get what we want. It is where we find what feels like value. It is how a sword gets made. It is how a problem gets solved.


Attention is how you see impact. Attention is how you see the value of your actions when you are focused on what you want most for yourself in the times that would otherwise lead you astray.

The Hawthorne Effect is the Product of Attention and Time

It is your x, how much of you are you putting into the issue at hand?

How much are you living in your head instead of putting yourself at risk to be judged as imperfect? Perfectly. Effort is us taking a risk at converting our reality into the one we dream at risk of failing.

If you have a lot of potential and don’t put in a lot of effort, then that potential was to be had.

Work Ethic is how much you invest the budget we are all given at the start of each day. We all have the same 24 hours, how you apply those hours shapes your next moments and the moments you have in years to come.



The Hawthorne Effect is Why Coaches Are Effective



They remind you of what you’re trying to do for yourself.

They push you when you start backing down from something challenging you.

They stand critical of how you are being so you can have an objective perspective on your development.

Everyone needs a stone to grind against.