For many years I wore reading glasses. My eyes would get tired from long hours in front of the computer or reading endless studies as a part of my academic research. I would often take off my glasses and rub my eyes. They were tired and even the corrective lenses seemed to lose their effectiveness. This past February, I decided that I was sick of wearing glasses and I wasn’t going to wear them anymore. I took them off and haven’t used them since.
Over the course of days, weeks, and now months, my eye muscles strengthened and I no longer wear reading glasses. This doesn’t mean that my eyesight is completely healed, but I would say that it has improved significantly. Sometimes I need to turn something a certain way or into the light to adequately read or see the item, but for the most part, I see pretty clear. Had I not chosen to make that choice, I’d have bought into the belief that the only way for me to see was through corrective lenses, but I have learned that I already had corrective lenses.
In life, whether personally or professionally, sometimes we need to temporarily shift away from how we typically look at something to gain clarity of sight. A colleague of mine shared with me his concept of ‘blind spots’. Think about getting new car, renting a car, or borrowing a car- what’s one of the first thing you figure out when driving it? – Where the blind spots are. Blind spots are barriers to our seeing clearly in every instance. Once we know where they are, we can find ways to improve our visibility and perception of what is around us. But first we need a new perspective to identify them.
Think about your life. Where are your blind spots? Are you a deeply caring person that may allow your love and thoughtfulness for others to affect your better judgement? In business, are you so focused on what you know and how things have worked that you can’t consider a new way of doing things? Our vision is often affected by the world around us, how we know things to be, or sometimes even how we want things to be. As I stated earlier, I put on sunglasses to cut through the glare during my runs- how can you cut through the glare of life and the world as you see it? The answer is reflective activities.
For me, I have to get outside. I have a yearning to get out to get in. By that I mean, my reflective activities, going inside my head and my heart are achieved through my runs and walks- although I can’t say that it is limited to these times, but they certainly help facilitate the activity. Getting out and away, for me, becomes a time to gain greater sight of my expectations, hopes, dreams, and overall contentment and satisfaction with how things are going or how I’d like them to go. During this time I gain perspective.
As my sneakers hit the dirt and my external vision takes in the trees and the world around me, I am alone with my thoughts. What I viewed in one way while in another physical surrounding takes on a new perspective. The glare is taken off the situation and I can see new paths to take as well as a new vantage of the path I chose. I can even see the blind spots from this new perspective.
Reflection is an amazing tool, but complete honesty about what you discover is mandatory. You won’t find blind spots and be able to correct them without this. Without honesty, the exercise is as futile as eating a hot fudge sundae while walking at a snail’s-pace on a treadmill.
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks inside awakens- Carl Jung.
How do YOU gain perspective? Do you know your blind spots? My weekend runs provide me an opportunity to literally get miles ahead while identifying blind spots. For others it may be mountain biking, sitting on the porch having coffee, or weeding the garden (while you are at it, please come do mine); wherever it is, I encourage you to find that physical spot that may enable you to gain clarity and reduce blind spots. As you make this a regular practice, I can guarantee that you will greatly increase your sight, your effectiveness, and your joy for life.
Jolene Church is currently working on a doctoral dissertation on the effects of critical thinking on organizational leaders. She is a mindfulness practitioner and the co-author of the newly released, Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset- available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.