How to Avoid Blind Spots

“Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.”

Rumi

“Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often the result of lack of wisdom.”

Terry Pratchett

A blindspot is any place where we don’t have understanding. It’s where our perspective, in a sense, is obstructed. It’s also where we “fill in the gaps” of what we think we know as true-fact or worse — what we try to deliberately ignore.

Deliberate ignorance is a great way to turn little problems into giant scary problems. It can happen it oh so many places without proper care or attention. It’s avoiding a growing tension between a relationship, putting off work or familial responsibilities or hoping a financial problem will go away on its own (or by wishfully thinking a winning lottery ticket will fall from the sky into our hands).

Little problems grow without us noticing. One day they are a speck of sand in an oysters mouth and nothing to gawk over, and the next thing you know it you’ve got a big glaring shiny pearl of a problem on your hands.

Instead of waiting to be crushed by a bigger problem, better to be attentive to the problems at hand while they are still little. I get it, avoiding a problem usually happens because we don’t think we can handle it or do anything about it, but that’s not true. We can at least look at it in the eye. We can start understanding what the problem is on a fundamental level and researching how other people have solved it before. We can ask for help.

Better to be sad or anxious in the present than being steamrolled by the future.

Another type of blindspot is things we don’t know we are missing or doing wrong. Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said it best —

“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

Unknown unknowns are a scary thought. Right now you could make a bad decision and not even know it. For better or worse, this is how a lot of life is lived. We go through life making mistakes, and hopefully, learn them (experience) so we can wisely avoid or overcome the same issues later on (or at least tell our story and hope others don’t make our same mistakes).

However, just because we have blind spots, doesn’t mean we have to go through life in the dark. There are quite a few things we can do, or at least try to do to migrate risk and avoid potential blind spots and pitfalls (filled with spikes) beforehand.

  • We can study and learn from the past.
  • We can read biographies of wise people from all walks of life. (Particularly bios from the people who faced trials and tribulations.)
  • We can build up (like we’re building a castle) our network of people who have our back and want to see us succeed in our pursuits.
  • We can craft a life advisor board of people we trust and admire.
  • We can pay close attention to our own needs, desires, emotions, problems and cultivate our self-awareness.

And we can forgive ourselves and go easy on ourselves when we do fall. Life isn’t easy. Putting yourself out there creatively is probably crazy. But that’s part of what makes it special and meaningful. The key is not letting the failures get to you and make you better. And not letting any hard-earned wisdom solidify you into never growing or changing your mind.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #860

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