Do you ever start to say something you know you shouldn’t, but cannot help to say it anyway? How about a specific relationship breaking down again, despite employing an array of differing strategies? I’m talking about the times where it seems no matter what you do, history has no choice but to repeat itself.
This, ladies and gentlemen, can be attributed to our blind spots. The areas where our ways of thinking hide the key to unlocking our full potential. We assert we’ve looked everywhere, but we cannot look where we cannot see. These barriers to awareness cannot be distinguished with the same thinking that got us there. A new mind and a new heart must be fashioned to break old, embedded patterns. For a life we truly love, we must take to the hills for a new vantage point.
Here are three essentials to uncovering your blind spots and living life on your terms:
1. Deal With Your Ego
Your ego, more than anything, is a protective device. Fashioned from the most primitive parts of your brain, such as the amygdala, your ego puts up a wall as you make mistakes or fall victim to your weaknesses. This component of your psyche—essentially your false self— makes it increasingly difficult for you to address your shortcomings logically and riddle them with emotion.
Because your survival and safety is paramount, responsibility is dodged and allocated elsewhere. Worse off, these areas of the brain are not accessible to our conscious awareness.
The saving grace however, is the part of the brain responsible for logic and reason. This higher-level, non-reactive consciousness can guide you in the right direction if you allow it. Understanding you have a war going on in your mind is the first step — with the second being, who you allow to win.
Your ego is insecure, underdeveloped, irrational, and painfully selfish. Calling it out when it attempts to run wild is up to you. Ironically, because it will stop at nothing to ensure your superficial needs — attention, love, praise, connection, etc. — are met, it typically jeopardizes them by being too attached. It’s a question of what you want the most versus what you want right now. You’ve got Jekyll and Hyde at odds in your head — who are you going to give the hammer to?
“Check your ego at the door. The ego can be the great success inhibitor. It can kill opportunities, and it can kill success.” – Dwayne Johnson
2. Question Everything
Success is not final. What works in producing results may not work for as long as we want to believe. With certain approaches having produced results for us in the past, we’re naturally inclined to lean into a sunk-cost bias and ride them out ignorantly. No one wants to give up their beliefs. Where we are in our lives right now is because of a sum of the choices we’ve made based on those beliefs.
Of the same token, what got you here won’t get you there. This is where many people struggle to stay in the game and begin to suffer — helplessness sets in when it appears all you know won’t make any difference. The only way to keep the door open to possibility is through inquiry.
By constantly questioning the approach, the mindset, the attitude and the focus on which you employ, you sift through the options objectively until you land on what you choose to try. Even if you’re wrong the first time, you simply go back to the drawing board and try something else. It gets messy when we over-identify with what we think. You can have strong opinions, but go easy on the Kung Fu grip.
3. Seek Feedback From Thoughtful People
This step is listed last for obvious reasons — it’s the most difficult. Putting yourself out there in the open for potential harm is no easy feat. When you realize the reward far outweighs the risk however, you’ll act every time.
Find a few close confidants whose opinions you value. Maybe they’ve accomplished some success in their lives or maybe they just know how to strike a chord with you. Set up regular conversations with them to provide feedback on what you’re up to in life, assuring them your feelings are suspended throughout the sit-down. Create a safe space for them to provide honest, thoughtful feedback for you to look at from a third person perspective and make a decision on whether or not you’re going to add it to your arsenal. Remember, they can see what you cannot.
This isn’t an open forum for someone to trash you. It’s simply a training ground for you to be with the perceptions that you’ve created for yourself through your attitudes and actions. By honoring and valuing others’ opinions, you’ll be one step closer to getting in the minds and hearts of the people you wish to influence most — as well as one step further away from your ego.
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” – John C. Maxwell
People can’t appreciate what they don’t know is there. There’s more than one lens in life and you just happen to possess one of the billions. Life isn’t the way you see it, but merely the way it is. Staying grounded in situations and seeing your emotions for what they are (i.e. a cry for help) will allow you to continue to heighten your perspective and gain a panoramic view.
You don’t access your peripherals without stretching your sight. Try these three techniques today to take a break from informational learning and discover for yourself what’s been in your way this whole time.