Lynn and Doug Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

We wonder, do you ever think about “blind spots”? We got to thinking about blind spots, and how to avoid them, because we have both been visiting the eye doctor lately. Sometimes changes in vision require taking action such as getting contacts, glasses or having surgery. Everyone wants to have good vision.

As a child, I (Doug) was blind to the fact that most people could see the individual leaves on trees and blades of grass. Fortunately, my vision problem was discovered by a nurse who gave an eye exam at school. I was one happy kid when I got my glasses and could see what others took for granted.

Blind spots can show up in different ways. We realize there are blind spots when we want to change lanes in traffic. Many times we think there’s no car in the lane next to us. Then we look in the rear view mirror and side mirrors to see that there’s a car in our blind spot. Now, newer cars have electronics that alert us when there is a car in our blind spot.

We have blind spots with vision, with traffic and we also realized we have blind spots in our lives. So how do blind spots show up in our lives? Blind spots are the reality that we believe to be true, but can actually be misperceptions that also lead to misinterpretations. Sometimes blind spots are called the “inner bias.” We might not acknowledge some things that we don’t like about ourselves. Blind spots are called blind spots because we are unaware of them.

Why is it important to recognize your blind spots? It’s important because they are negatively influencing our lives. Even though we are unaware of these blind spots, they are always visible to others. Just as Doug was unaware of his eye problem, it was visible to the nurse. Our blind spots can be a problem because we act without having necessary information. Blind spots can negatively impact relationships and keep people from advancing in their careers.

Blind spots can be about positive or negative traits. People can believe they are great at doing something when, in fact, they need a lot of improvement. Also, people can believe that they are no good at doing something when actually they are quite talented at the task at hand.

How do we recognize blind spots when we are blind to them? Since we are clueless that blind spots exist, if someone calls us out on them, we often will rigorously defend our stance. That’s why it’s necessary to get honest feedback from people we trust. Maybe it’s friends who care about us and want the best for us. They will tell us what could be better. Or, if a blind spot is that we don’t recognize the strengths or talents that we already possess, they may tell us to start trusting that we are doing a great job. Maybe it’s a professional who is objective, such as a counselor or coach, who will “hold the mirror up” for us to see what others see about us.

Warren Buffett said, “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” That’s why blind spots are sometimes difficult to uncover and accept. However, when people can own their blind spots, they have the freedom to choose other thought patterns and behaviors that can be more effective in helping them reach their goals.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a mechanism in our brains that could give us alerts about blind spots in our life, just like the new cars give alerts about blind spots on the road?

Actually, we do have a mechanism to catch blind spots, and that is getting feedback from others who care about us and can be objective. As they help us identify our blind spots, with practice it’s possible to address them — and then they are no longer blind spots.

What about you? Do you wonder what blind spots you have that are impacting your life?

Some inspiration: Know that you are not alone. We all have blind spots to work on and they may change as life progresses. We encourage you to be open to getting feedback from people you trust who will be honest with you.

As you see the blind spots in your life, take action to correct thinking or behaviors that are holding you back so you can enjoy an even more satisfying and successful life.

Chanhassen residents, Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at WeCare@SharingLifesLessons.com. More information and videos at http://SharingLifesLessons.com.

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