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Pawn, Observer or Player.. What’s your role in life?

The more time you spend mixing in the public domain, the more opportunity you have to participate in the lives of others. Being a player. If you commute you probably spend a lot of time around people you see everyday. You may not interact with them much, if at all, but given half a chance would you offer a hand, intervene or step in?

I know its a weird question for some, the thought of becoming involved in something that is originally nothing to do with you may seem totally alien. However to others, like myself its a part of everyday life. It might not be life critical, it might not change the world, but even helping someone with their buggy up some stairs, giving directions, or just checking someone is ok, is truly playing a part in life.

To me there are 3 types of people in this world, pawns, observers and players. Call them what you like. But this is my breakdown.
A pawn is a person who lives a simple life, head down, gets on, never gets involved and aims to do as they are told. An observer is someone who is more active in life, aware of their surroundings, adapts to what's going on, but still keeps themselves very much to them self. Then there are players. Fully involved in life, willing to step in if they can help, always aware of what's happening around them, and never shying away from the opportunity to make an impact on someone else.

Regardless of morals or intentions, no matter what drives you in life. In general you will slot onto one of the above categories.

When I look back and reflect on past experiences in life it is easier to see how the groups operate, allow me to offer an example.
A few years back I saw a rather crazy or deranged looking man walking down the main road with 2 axes in his hands, merrily chopping away at lampposts etc. Clearly realising he was a danger to the public I immediately called 999 and kept him in my sight while guiding the police in to my location. However.... As I talked to the police on the phone I realised 80% of the people on the street were oblivious to his behaviour, too consumed by their own lives. These Pawns left themselves vulnerable to all sorts of dangers by being unaware of what was going on outside their bubbles.
On previous occasions when a major incident is occurring, the police operator will advise you they have received a number of calls, and being on the scene of such an incident you will usually see others on their phones, observing and reporting... But on this day, nothing. Suggesting the other 20% were observers. Aware enough to avoid the matter, possibly able to tell the story to people at work (as one of my colleagues was) but playing no part in the matter, no 999 call, no warning of people around, just being aware of what was going on outside the bubble, to avoid it bursting.

Maybe such an event is a little too extreme to use as an example, let me dumb it down a bit.

OK, a recent redevelopment of a road near me has caused concerns about how to cross it. I know, we all learned to cross a road as children, but for the less aware amongst us, crossing the road is seen as a right, and not something that takes care and consideration. So this road, its only 2 cars wide, give or take a couple of feet, but apparently still a challenge to cross for some grown adults.
The arguments posed by our 3 groups are simple, a pedestrian crossing should be installed to allow commuters to cross safely, a zebra crossing should be installed to allow safe crossing, or people should just be more aware of their surroundings and learn to cross a bloody road properly.
OK this isn't a similar example of our 3 groups, but its another angle on how the mindsets of people work. Those wanting a pedestrian crossing want to hand over total responsibility of who says its safe to cross. Our pawns want a little green man to tell them the decision has been made for them, cross without thinking outside the bubble at all.
Our observers however, a little more savvy, and confident of things outside the bubble, wanting some control over their decision, but ultimately still looking for something to stop the bubble being damaged. Then there are the players. Capable of interacting with the world around them, able to make an informed decision and not requiring something physical to give them the reassurance that it will all be ok.
On a side note, and as a secondary observation, put all three groups on an open road or zebra crossing and only 2 groups would be able to assist or consider assisting someone else across the road. Elderly, carrying an object etc. The pawns would be blissfully unaware that there was even anyone else there.
Needless to say, in this instance the majority want some form of crossing to use for this tiny yet terrifying piece of road, with only a small minority able to comprehend that it is not practical to have a crossing on such a small piece of road.

I have many more example of how the 3 groups behave. In an emergency situation, after a car accident maybe. Pawns won't notice what has happened, however may feel their way is being blocked so become irate and sound their horn. Observers will be aware of what's happening, maybe advise others, almost certainly complain to friends, maybe even take pictures. But it is only the player who will become involved and check for injuries, make calls, and try and help.

What I am trying to get at here is we need to break out from our bubbles once in a while and become involved. In countries stricken by disaster 99% of the population instantly become players, seeing to their own needs and the needs of others. Karma, give and take, call it what you want, but one good turn deserves another, and usually someone involved will receive as much as they give, in thanks or out of respect. But instead all we do in the UK is expect, demand and assume we are entitled. Rather than earning and working for things society teaches us that the less we do, the more we deserve. The social scrounging epidemic is just one example of that. We don't have to be involved in life, we don't have to participate or do a single thing, raise a hand to help another person, in fact nothing at all. And in return we will receive a place to live, beer money, bus passes and all sorts of other concessions.

Its time to stop being a pawn, and at least step up to willing observer status. Stop standing and staring when you see someone struggling, don't just watch on as a man struggles to get their broken down car off the junction, don't assume someone else will make the 999 call for the suspicious person you saw, or the smoke you can see coming from the window. Play a part, stand up and be counted, and feel that you belong, and made a difference.

I have spent years getting involved, from fires in woodlands, to serious road accidents, weirdo's with axes, to concern for wellbeing. Its empowering, it gives you a sense of being, has no real recourse, and makes a difference to someone elses life. One day you will hope someone is there for you, looking our for you, or willing to help you.... So be that person for someone else today.

Take a moment to think which of the three you are, a pawn, an observer or a player...... At the end of the day I'm not judging anyone, you are what you are, its for you to decide if you could me more.....

Yours sincerely

Michael Snasdell
Player of Life

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