Learning Bites #2: The power of detachment – decoded

Power of detachmentWould you like to learn a short exercise that helps you to learn more about yourself?

Detaching yourself to some extent from your current thought, your current move or your behavior can help you to understand yourself better. Why do you do certain things that way and not the other way around?

So, are you ready for the second edition of the monthly Learning Bites series? It does not take more than 12 minutes to do.

As a short reminder on the Learning Bites, they are (very) short learning modules or exercises which have a strong focus on action rather than on knowledge delivery. So, apart from all these reading materials on this blog, I encourage you to try them out.

Let’s go!

The attached & detached observer

I actually went through the key elements of this exercise we are about to address last year in a workshop with the Oxford Leadership Academy. And I am glad I did, as I find it quite powerful. I take now the liberty to share parts of it with you.

This exercise is meant to allow you to take the role of a “detached observer” and look at yourself and your life from a certain distance (at least a tiny little bit at first). It is meant to increase the awareness of your own thoughts, and to understand your habits better. Maybe you even realize that there are some patterns which are stronger and older than others, without analyzing too deeply.

Here comes the exercise.

Learning Bites #2: How to change the perspective on yourself

Please only read this when you are ready for the exercise. One line after the other and if there is a question, please answer it before moving on. Otherwise the exercise will not be of high value.

Power of detachment detached observerPart 1 (2 minutes): The chair
  1. Sit down on a chair somewhere where it is quiet
  2. Ask yourself: “Who has more power? Myself or the chair I am sitting on?”
  3. What is your answer?
  4. While you are sitting on your chair, try right now to move the chair to the left.
  5. When you are done, stand up and move the chair back to the right.

Which move was easier?

For all those who thought that the person has always more power, this exercise illustrates that this is not the case. The second message is that the person has more power to move the chair, when he is detached and not sitting on it.


How do you overcome fear - exercise P1Part 2 (5-10 minutes): The detached observer
  1. Think of an experience in the past where you have had a lot of success. What were the benefits that you got out of it? What made you successful at that point? What did you do?
  2. Imagine this past experience is the chair you are sitting on (okay, this might be a bit unrealistic, but give it a try).
  3. Think about other relevant points right now, if you look at it with a distance. If you were to stand up, can you think of other experiences that are related to the success you have had?


Similar to the first Learning Bite, if you only complete the first part of this exercise, it should trigger some thoughts, on how to detaching yourself can change the perspective on things.

Thank you for participating! Is this approach of the detached observer useful to you? Let me know!

Image courtesy: Lel4nd


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