Blind spots and YOU!

My last piece on blind spots hit home for many of our readers. Some mailed me sharing their frustrating experiences with their colleagues/boss/spouse because of the latter’s blind spots. Their experiences made me realize that I may have something more to share on this topic. You might have noticed that the ‘You’ in the title is bold, all caps, and underlined, there’s a reason why it is so and it’s that managing blind spots is about YOU, not about anyone else. The irony is that you can only see others’ blind spots never your own – that’s why they are called “Blind Spots” – you are blind to them!

You can only see others’ blind spots and vice versa

Imagine you are driving a car and approaching a dangerous collision that you cannot see as it’s in your blind spot. The only way you will be able to see it is when there’s another car in the vicinity whose driver can see that you are about to crash, and honks to alert you so that you turn to check your blind spot and save yourself. Similarly, people don’t notice their blind spots unless they come very close to ‘crashing’, or receive a ‘hard knock on their head”.

You cannot change anyone 

Knowledge can never be given, it can only be acquired. You cannot impart knowledge unless the receiver is willing to accept it, and s/he would only do so when s/he realizes its dire need. Similarly, you cannot get anyone to see their blind spots if they are not ready or willing. If someone else points out your blind spots, you will only be able to see them if you are open to their existence and are willing to correct yourself. But that’s an ideal scenario, most people are not so accepting of their limitations. Yes, we would like to improve ourselves, work on our cons, but the catch is, most of us have a more or less fixed idea about our cons, and more often than not, they are not very serious stuff. The serious stuff, or more appropriately, the darker stuff, that which we would prefer not to associate with ourselves lie hidden in our blind spot. This is what is visible to others, and may get us in an offensive mode when pointed out.

Blind spots is about YOU

Pointing out others’ blind spots does not return even a fraction of the benefits that one can gain from working on one’s own blind spots. The reason is that others’ blind spots may annoy you, trouble you, but they cause maximum damage only to the one who has them. Consequently, your own blind spots need your urgent attention, so rather than focusing on others’ blind spots, you need to find ways to identify yours and remove them. But how do you do that, when you cannot see them? Well, other people can certainly see them, you need to seek out people whose opinions you can trust and ask them to help you out, of course get prepared to be shocked.

Why managing blinds spots on your own is ineffective

There is a catch to getting your friends, colleagues and relatives to point out your blind spots. They may not be entirely truthful or accurate because they are connected to you. They may not want to hurt you or damage the relationship they share with you by pointing out certain ugly facts about yourself. Above all, they may not possess the expertise to analyze you and identify the blind spots that have the maximum effect on your growth. The best way to do this is to get an independent expert to conduct, say a 360-degree evaluation for you, analyze the data, and then come out with the best ways to deal with your blind spots. In other words, get a coach who can understand and analyze you against your context and suggest solutions. Coaches are trained for their job, they have access to a variety of tools with the help of which they can help you zap your blind spots effectively and quickly.  Think about it, you would approach a medically trained specialist to treat a serious disease rather than depending upon self concocted remedies, or traditional home remedies, your blind spots are serious diseases of thought and personality, treat them with the help of a specialist.