Have you ever had the experience of something happening in your life and being totally surprised by it but when you talk with someone else they are surprised that you didn’t see it coming? Yeah, it’s happened to me too. Something hidden in our emotional “blind spot” may as well be nonexistent.
The tricky thing about blind spots is that they aren’t always “blind” sometimes we chose to ignore something that, in hindsight, we noticed right away, it just didn’t fit the narrative we were creating. You know what I mean, the boss who, when we first interviewed made us a touch uncomfortable but we really wanted that job so we ignored the feeling. Or the date who never asked anything about us and we just somehow managed to not notice that. Or, or, or… When we let our desire for a specific outcome overtake our powers of perception we are creating blind spots for ourselves and trust me, no good come of that.
This particular brand of willful (though unconscious) blind spots comes about when we want the idea of a thing so much that we are willing to suspend our faculty of critical thinking. We notice the potential issue right off the bat but we want what we want so badly that good judgment flies out the window. Not only do we shut the window after it, we brick up the window and pretend it was never even there.
We want what we want! But what we aren’t thinking about in that moment is the range of what we want. Yes, we want the sweet sounding job, but do we want it at the price of our day-to-day sanity and peace? We want the relationship, but do we want it at the price of being the one doing all the paying attention and not being paid attention to? By definition a blind spot means that there is something we are missing. There is something there but we just aren’t seeing it.
In your car you can adjust the mirrors so that the blind spot is eliminated (thank you Car Talk guys). What you can’t see in one mirror is visible in the other and voila, no blind spot. In life the same thing is often possible. Taking a step back, being aware of your motivations, noticing what you are feeling, paying attention to the information that you are receiving, all of it, is the equivalent of adjusting your mirrors.
Is this going to get rid of every single blind spot in life? I wish, but sorry, no. Sometimes we just can’t see what is there no matter how hard we try. It is why listening to trusted friends and advisers is so important; lacking your emotional investment in the situation they possess a clarity you may struggle to find. But often we can see what is there if we just take the time and have the courage to maybe not get what we want right this minute.
Or perhaps we decide that the job, the relationship, or whatever adventure we are contemplating is worth the risk. We have done our due diligence, we realize that the boss, the relationship, or the project may have some potentially significant downsides; at least then we aren’t going in blind.