How To Manage Your Blind Spots: Be Closed-Mouth & Open-Minded

A Reflection & A Challenge

A sunset stroll in Manhattan, Montana. 12/27/16.

Was scanning my Facebook feed this AM, saw many posts of the year-in-review and what-I’m-looking-forward-to variety. Lists of learnings, accomplishments, travels, discoveries. IRONMANs. Everest base camp. NewCos. Challenges overcome and new personal bests. All capped with even bigger ambitions and more planned breakthroughs for the new year.

Sincerely proud of my peers — kudos all.

Here’s a version of my year in review, capped off with a challenge.

It’s because I am not who I think I am, and we are not who we think we are. I am not the emblematic human, and my “we” is not the collective “we”.

Each of us has a point of view and his or her own reasons for it, derived from unique life context — childhood happenings, parental upbringing, social influence, readings, observations.

For my adult life, my POV has often aligned with what I’ve known as “the majority” since, like many of you, I live in a geographic, familial, professional and social echo chamber.

I believe many of us can confidently say the concept of “majority” was strongly challenged in 2016, and not just politically. Social constructs. International identities. Economic realities. And so much more.

In 2016 my foundation was rocked. A clouded lens became clear.

I have both a college and a master’s degree. I’m well read. I’m surrounded by “thought leaders” in many new, fast-growing industries— if someone’s fundamental beliefs are so different than those of me and my peers, they must be wrong, misguided, shortsighted.

That was always the easy response.

The harder one is replacing “They must be” with “I am” and “We are”. Has a different ring to it.

It’s because I am not who I think I am, and we are not who we think we are. I am not the emblematic human, and my “we” is not the collective “we”.

So when I hear an alternative POV, I lean in. I want to know where someone is coming from, why he or she chose their logic, when and how it first manifested. Only once we appreciate one another’s contexts can we start to form the truly collective “we”.

Leaning in is allowing me to learn more about my own beliefs and absolutes. Reinforcing certain ones and destabilizing others. More aware of what I do and do not know. Seeking wisdom and experience where previously there was a void.

I Therefore Ask You, My Peers, To Do More Of This:

Question yourself.

Revisit your answers and absolutes.

Ask questions of others and truly listen to the answers.

Be closed-mouth but open-minded.

Imagine what was previously unimaginable to you.

Know there is a void in all of us, a blind spot. Challenge yourself to be aware of it. Fill it in.

If you accept this challenge, you and 2017 will be off to a strong start.

~Happy New Year~