How to stop your blind spots from tripping you up
Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg
Our blind spots often develop when we’re young. They help us survive, and they often start off being pretty useful. But as time goes by and your past successes become your only way to succeed in the present and future, things can get tricky. If our only approach to solving problems doesn’t work in certain environment, we’re lost.
All this means it’s really important to be adaptable, and that in turn means working with your weaknesses as well as your strengths. An emotional blind spot is very like the actual, physical blindspots we all have in our eyes. We can’t see what’s in the blind spot unless we move our eyes to a new position. We have to change our thinking to see them, and only then can we deal with them in a positive, helpful way.
We all have emotional blind spots.
We all have emotional blind spots, and by their very nature they’re notoriously hard for us to see. They’re completely out of sight, a habitual way of seeing things that’s so familiar it’s invisible. Blind spots are, as the name suggests, just spots, which means they’re usually fairly low key, not usually present in everything we do. Maybe you have a blind spot about a person which means you see their virtues when nobody else seems to. Or a blind spot about an IT system that you rate highly but everyone else finds a nightmare to use.
Blind spots can trip us up, contributing to needlessly tricky relationships and difficult situations. They can stop us spotting opportunities, forcing us to ellipse ourselves and not see how really great we are at something. Even though they usually have stories attached to them that feed our self-beliefs, and our feelings about how other people should be, blind spots remain almost completely outside our own awareness. And that means, sometimes, we’re completely blindsided when our preconceptions are blown out of the water.
To destroy the negative power they have over you, or harness the positives they provide, you need to raise your own awareness of your blind spots and think differently about them, seeing them as a challenge, part of a lifetime’s learning.
Can external feedback help you identify your blind spots?
Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn
External feedback about blind spots often come to us through our circumstances, in the patterns we repeat. Maybe you keep not getting the job you want. Maybe you consistently ignore evidence that proves you’re doing well. Somehow you can’t see what’s in plain sight, what’s blindingly obvious to others.
It’s often easy for other people to see our blind spots, simply because they’re not blind to the same thing or things that we are! Our blindness is sometimes so obvious, so ‘in your face’ that they find it very hard to understand why we don’t see it for ourselves. But when you’ve seen and understood a blind spot in yourself, you have the potential to be transformed. Your blind spots are no longer blinding you. Instead they give you a fresh, new laser focus that can be magically liberating.
A different take on blind spots
Brian Wagner’s story is a bit different. He actually went blind, actually lost his sight. His experience inspired him to learn from his own blind spots, cope with them, and ultimately see the world differently. You can watch his TED talk here:
Brian Wagner has a gift for helping others identify their blind spots and overcome self-limiting beliefs. His talent came from a childhood experience, a medical diagnosis that would ultimately damage his sight. Now he motivates other people to ‘embrace their personal blindness’, whether physical or mental, through a process he calls Radical Vision.
Once you acknowledge and identify your blind spots, you can learn from them. As Brian says, we all have blindness in our lives. But at the same time we can all see through our blind spots to overcome self-limiting beliefs.
Blind spots are merely mental blindness, the thoughts that get passed over when another thought or emotion takes control. Brian’s process involves admitting you’re blind, then identifying the blind spots that limit you. While it isn’t always easy on your own, self reflective discovery helps. You can do things like:
- Doing meditation – a kind of self reflection
- Keeping a journal – also a form of self-reflection
- Pro-reflection, in other words seeking advice and help from people you trust
- Taking note of the positive and negative feedback you’ve been given
- Ultimately, embracing your blindness and creating a greater vision for your life, a better purpose, one you can share with other people
A word of caution
When you suddenly see a blindspot in yourself, it can be a bit of a shock or at the very least, a surprise. How have you managed to live for so long without realising what now seems so blazingly obvious? These feelings can require adjustment and acceptance before you’re in a fit state to pin down some thoughtful strategies around incorporating and applying this the new information and insight.
To help cushion the potential shock, we feel it’s important to take feedback on board from those you trust and whose opinion you respect, not just feedback from anyone and everyone. Talking with these people is a sensible, self protective way forward. It’s much better than collecting feedback from everybody, simply because feedback isn’t always given with good intentions.
We’ll help you shine light on your blind spots
If you want take the feedback you’ve received, explore it in a positive space and shine the light on your blind spots, we’ll be pleased to help. Resolve that internal blindness and you’ll become far more effective.