Hide and Watch : Lessons From My Grandfather

hide and watch Payne Outdoors Chris Payne“Boy, just hide and watch.” It was a phrase my grandfather used on hundreds of occasions and was the typical answer to almost any question I’d ask.

Whether fishing, hunting, welding, cleaning fish, or asking about the next play the football team would most likely run, it was always the same: hide and watch.

For most of my adolescent years I thought that hide and watch was a throwaway phrase much like my answers to my children can be. For instance, “we’ll see” or “maybe” is the answer I give when in actuality I know the real answer is no. I just don’t want to deal with the pouting or complaining. Hope lives on only for me to snuff it out later. I have to quit doing that.

Hide and watch wasn’t a throwaway phrase though. He was trying to teach me the power of observation. He wanted me to observe the surroundings, take in all the data points my adolescent mind was skipping over in a hurry to get to the answer, and formulate a theory as to why something is happening or how to do something.

I think our world now, more than ever, needs more hide and watch. With Google, phones with internet access, and personal assistants like Siri at the ready, it’s too easy to ask why or how. There is no learning and educating happening in our non-school environments. We don’t even have to read answers anymore; Siri will tell you. It makes me nostalgic and a little sad.

Each day Facebook posts flood into the internet ether asking “How do I, Where Can I, What is a”. It’s almost as if research and observation have died off. It’s too easy to get an answer. The thing is, without vetting, observation, and research, how do you know the answer you got is the one you need or is correct?

Hide and Watch in the Outdoors

Even in the outdoor world where observations and processing of information lead the best in the world to victory, people who try to imitate their successes skip the most important part: hide and watch. KVD and Greg Hackney don’t do well in fishing tournaments because they ask Siri what bait to throw and where.

They do well because they observe the weather conditions, the time of year, water conditions, forage conditions, look at all of the factors involved, form a theory about a plan for success, and then go act on it. If for some reason it isn’t working, they observe again and reformulate. In essence, they hide and watch.

My challenge for you and me today is to spend a little more time hiding and watching before acting and asking. Chances are, we’ll be more successful, and my grandfather will have  been right even though it took 25 years for me to slow down enough to realize it.

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