“Not only do you become what you think about, but the world also becomes what you think about. Those who think that the world is a dark place are blind to the light that might illuminate their lives. Those who see the light of the world view the dark spots as merely potential light.”
Wayne W. Dyer (Author, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life)
“What I’ve found in my research is that realism and self-honesty are the antidote to ego, hubris, and delusion.”
Ryan Holiday, (Author, Ego Is The Enemy)
“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”
Leonardo da Vinci (Italian Artist)
Do you consider yourself a good judge of character?
Your instincts and assessments of others are bang on, right?
In fact, you’re probably really good at taking a critical eye and spotting out people’s weaknesses and knowing exactly what they need to do to change.
Sure… we all are.
Equally, we all tend to suck at turning the magnifying glass around.
A study in the Personality and Social Sciences Bulletin recently confirmed that people are better able to point out cognitive blind spots (or perceptual biases) in others, but struggle to identify the exact same blind spots in themselves.
In other words, you can easily see the splinter in your friend’s eye, but can’t see the 2X4 plank in your own eye.
As a result, you fail to correct the weaknesses that are truly holding you back in life.
Whether it’s the inaccuracy of Imposter Syndrome, or an inflated sense of self, your perceptions are not reality.
These blind spots, in the true perception of who you are and how others see you in the world, hold important information for future growth and ultimate success.
An indicator of emotional intelligence and the root of personal growth is to know thyself.
Accurately… and well.
It’s tough work that requires a balancing of your own sense of self with feedback from others who know you.
Too often, this work is ignored because it’s uncomfortable.
More often, any growth in this area is turned away from, because the perception you hold of yourself and gripping onto your blind spots serves you in some way.
Or, so you think.
Blind spots revealed… weaknesses exposed… vulnerability is uncomfortable and forces us to make decisions.
And as humans, we resist change, growth, and work — even when it’s for our own good.
The alternative to change is to stay the same.
And, say hello to your mediocre life of low standards and safe play.
Hard self-reflection isn’t for the weak and eternally dependent.
Cry-babies are not allowed.
Peeling yourself back to expose your blind spots requires strength and honesty.
And most aren’t up for it, preferring the comfort of the fallacy of self, created out of their own minds to make them feel better.
That, and it’s easier to point out everyone else’s flaws.
As if you, yourself, are flawless.
Keeps you deluded.
Keeps you blissfully ignorant of how stuck and limited you are in your own life.
And secretly, it is more fun because it allows you to feel impishly superior.
And insufferable to everyone around you.
Look — if you really want success in any area of your life, you have to be willing to do the work.
Not just the strategic and tactical work to move towards your goals, but the transformational work of your self to be the person worthy of those goals.
Blind Spots Support The Lies You Tell Yourself
Everyone has blind spots.
They are an age-old psychological concept and a well-worn path of human consciousness and behavior.
Also known as cognitive or perceptual bias, blind spots are the “subjective social reality” that our brains construct and give meaning and truth to… whether they are true or not.
They are the things that you don’t know about yourself — or ignore about yourself — that other people see in you.
A handy defense mechanism for uncomfortable truths, blind spots allow you to believe what you think about yourself and avoid reality.
If you’re smart, you’re actually better at holding firm to your blind spots.
According to research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “cognitive sophistication”, including cognitive ability, minimized bias to self. Just the opposite, a bigger blind spot is actually connected to higher cognitive function.
So basically, you’re just better at your own lies about yourself… to yourself.
Furthermore, you’re also really good at thinking you’re better than everyone else, even if you share the same blind spot.
Participants in a study, reported in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, easily pointed out blind spots in their peers, while refusing to acknowledge they shared the same bias.
It’s you, not me.
Because, being delusional is fun.
Current Directions in Psychological Science confirms this, stating…
“Most people believe that they know themselves better than anyone else knows them. However, a complete picture of what a person is like requires both the person’s own perspective and the perspective of others who know him or her well. People’s perceptions of their own personalities, while largely accurate, contain important omissions.”
While some blind spots are just due to lack of information, many are motivated by a desire to ignore undesirable traits.
If that’s you, it means you’ve become a slave to your own brain and are officially your own worst enemy in goal-achievement and success.
For which, there is no standing ovation.
2 Ways To Uncover And Eliminate Your Own Blind Spots
The truth is, while you think you know yourself better than anyone, you’re not entirely right.
The truth about yourself is, you need self-reflection and feedback from those who know you, and the humility to receive both, to address the blind spots that are holding you back.
And, this work is continuous.
If you want to get rid of your blind spots, or at least keep them in plain view, you must do these two things…
1. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself.
This kind of self-ruthlessness is a valuable trait.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you were really honest with yourself?
It’s great to be confident and focus on your strengths all the time, but to exist permanently in a state of blind positivity can keep you from growing.
You don’t get a free pass in life for being positive.
No one is coming to give you a ribbon just for showing up and smiling like a buffoon.
Instead, you’re going to have to do the tough work of identifying your shortcomings, mistakes, and biases.
You are going to have to get courageous, get vulnerable, and start looking at yourself with a much wider lens.
This includes looking at the patterns of your life, and the biases in thought and action that have created them.
What areas of your life have you continued to experience scenarios as if on re-run?
What’s the theme of your past relationships? And, your current ones?
Where do you use the phrases “always” and “never” when you speak of events in your life?
What part did you and your shortcomings play in your failures?
Start digging up the corners of your life.
Assess your relationships, your work, your leisure, your character, your values, and your habits.
Where do you chronically feel like you hit a wall, or repeat the same pattern, or turn away from the truth?
If you don’t, you will continue to bang your head against that wall until you figure it out.
Pull yourself out of your current situations and take a hard look at your weaknesses.
Don’t get stuck wallowing or brow-beating, and miss the point of the exercise of self-evaluation.
Be more disciplined with your mind.
See something you don’t like?
Have a sense that you’re missing something?
Ask people who know you very well and who you trust to give you their take on your blind spots.
The science says they’ll be able to point them out easily.
Be prepared for some hard truths and inconvenient lessons.
2. Set higher standards for yourself.
Once you’ve taken in all the constructive criticism from your self-reflection and the feedback from others, take that information and commit to improvement.
Once exposed, a blind spot is no longer a blind spot, it’s a conscious choice to stay the same.
In which case, you don’t deserve success, and you won’t ever get it, regardless.
If you’ve been honest with yourself, you can take this awareness and start to raise the bar for your life.
Start breaking bad habits
Stop indulging your excuses.
Set your focus on what you want to achieve and reverse engineer in daily actions that include the refining of your character to include traits necessary to excel.
Who is doing what you’re doing, and doing it better than you?
What traits do they have and which of your blind spots do they lack, allowing them to outperform you?
Make a list.
Don’t get over-emotional about your life.
Instead, look at where you have the opportunity to make adjustments and set a higher bar than what you’re accustomed to.
Demand more from yourself.
You get to be and become whoever you want.
If someone is doing it better, don’t be catty, learn from them.
Take what’s better and start becoming it.
Then, shoot higher.
Be wary of friends that pat you on the back and tell you that you’re great just the way you are.
You might be. But in reality, to get what you want in life, you’re going to have to be better.
And that includes striving to be as honest about yourself and your reality as you can, so you know where you’re at and can better craft where you need to go, and who you need to be, to get there.
Then, you can take this new information and move forward, potentially as a better person, and certainly unshackled for your biggest goals.
If you’re finished settling for the status quo and the complacency of where you are at in life right now, then you’ll be bold in diving into this work. You’ll turn the hard truths you dish out to others and turn it back on yourself. You’ll ask for honest feedback and start valuing people that aren’t just indulging your ego. You’ll welcome the challenge and start valuing growth and change as you set higher bars for your thoughts, behaviors, and ultimate successes.
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