Have you ever failed to see an opportunity that lay In plain sight, directly in front of you? Have you ever been amazed and surprised by someone you had judged to be somewhat incompetent or inept, after they had completed a task that you had previously judged them unable to accomplish? Have you ever focused so intently on a problem that you failed to see the solution that, to others, would have been obvious? Have you ever failed to anticipate something new because you were pre-conditioned by experience to expect the same results you had in the past?
I suggest that these instances of missing the obvious are products of our blind spots. Blind spots occur when what exists is beyond our range of sight. We’re all familiar with the blind spots associated with the vehicles we drive. They are those areas adjacent to the rear fenders or, prior to back-up cameras, a few feet directly behind the vehicle.
Public building hallways sometimes utilize convex mirrors placed above eye-level at corners to permit us to see around those corners, thus eliminating a blind spot.
I suggest that in addition to these physical blind spots we’re familiar with, emotional and thought-based blind spots exist within us too. They can be difficult to notice and are the cause of those missed opportunities and over-sights I alluded to at the opening of this article.
On Sept 26, 2018, a violent windstorm, took down trees and damaged homes my neighborhood. We lost a large, beautiful pear tree as the wind took down about 90% of it. And, we gained a trampoline – as the neighbor’s ended up in our yard.
In working with my neighbor to return it to its rightful place, we looked at how to accomplish this and he talked about lifting it over his fence & some bushes. I responded that he’d need someone stronger than me. I couldn’t do it, I told myself I couldn’t do it. That was my first blind spot relating to this problem. You see, trampolines are not all that heavy, in fact, this one was quite light in weight.
And, 30 minutes later, the trampoline was back in its proper home. I asked my neighbor, “How did you do it?” His wife had suggested that he just turn it over on its side and roll it into their yard. So he followed her suggestion. Problem solved.
My focusing on the problem made me miss an easy opportunity, an obvious solution, that someone looking from the observer perspective could see. Someone who wasn’t blinded by the problem.
Sometimes challenges can create blind spots when we focus so hard on the challenge, we miss the obvious solution.
I’ve spoken before about becoming myopic when I drill down on a problem. I become nearsighted and can’t see the bigger picture. Both my neighbor and I had created a blind spot to the solution.
Where are you experiencing a problem in need of a solution that you just can’t seem to find? You just might be dealing with one of your blind spots. If you can, have someone view the problem from a new perspective or you can back away and view the issue from afar. Maybe that will help.
While in my car, I’ve backed out of the driveway from our home thousands of times, looking left and right, down the sidewalks, never seeing anyone who would be at risk. It reached the point that looking down the sidewalks seemed to provide the same useless information, so I pretty much ignored it. That was my perspective, that was my blind spot.
Which is why I opened my driver’s side window, the other day, and apologized to a neighbor, whom I closely brushed as I backed out of my driveway. I didn’t see what was standing (walking) directly to my side because my perspective was in the past. I had formed an opinion in my mind of what I would see. I had formed my opinion based on the majority of my driveway experiences. Of course, that actually has nothing to do with what I may encounter the next time I back out.
Let’s examine ourselves and ask, “Where in my life am I failing to see someone or something with new eyes? Where in my reality today, am I permitting worn evaluations, judgments, and histories to limit how I view those people and circumstances that I think I know well? How can I eliminate this blind spot?” What would a change in my perspective bring to these circumstances?
Racism and bigotry are obvious blind spots where perpetrators are unable to see the wonder of someone who is different. Other common blind spot areas are families, work, any group activity where prejudices, paradigms, and judgments cloud and limit reality. The purpose of this blog is to help you become aware and mindful of areas where you might be limiting your perspectives.
Open your emotional and mental eyes wider, expand your vision. The best things in life may be hiding in your blind spots.