Daring to Glance
One helpful, practical tool to understand our blind spot is what’s called the Johari Window, an image developed as a counseling tool in the 1950s. Subjects were given a list of fifty-six adjectives, adjectives, and were asked to pick those that best described them. The same was done with peers of each subject, and then all of the answers were placed on the grid for discussion.
There are four areas on the grid (see fig. 1). The areas that are known to us and to others are termed our open areas. Others do not know about some areas of our lives because they are hidden, but we know them well. And there are unknown areas that contain things we and others don’t know about us. And then we have blind spots. These are the things we don’t know, though they are clear to others.
The Range of What We Think and Do
In this short poem, the psychologist Daniel Goleman builds on the work of R. D. Laing’s “knots.” The poem is a helpful reminder that our awareness is the limitation of our understanding. Expanding our our awareness helps us avoid painful blind spots:
The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds?
Reducing People to the Madness of a Single Moment
In his thoughtful book, Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes, Jonathan K. Dodson points out our blind-spots with respect to pride:
We rarely think of ourselves as proud. Instead we think of others—“the arrogant guy,” “the stuck-up girl”—who seem to excel in pride as if they work at it. People from the entertainment industry may come to mind: Rosie O’Donnell, Christian Bale, or Beyoncé. Or from sports: Floyd Mayweather, Draymond Green, Nick Kyrgios.
Pride is easy to spot in those who are in the limelight but difficult to see in ourselves. When a video of Bale losing his temper and cussing out a camera crew went viral, people spewed judgments at him online. We often judge a high-profile person for an instance of arrogance, one explosion of anger, or a tirade rife with profanities, as if we’ve never done the same thing. We reduce people to the madness of a single moment.
Taken from Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes by Jonathan K. Dodson Copyright (c) 2020 by Jonathan K. Dodson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com
Editor’s Note: This story is often told as a true story, when in fact it is probably fictitious. Nevertheless, there is a significant illustrative point: sometimes the things we fear most may in fact be the most likely to save us.
One night a woman was driving home on the interstate when she noticed some strange behavior behind her. It seemed as though a semi-truck was following her. Every time she changed lanes, the truck-driver followed after her. She tried to speed up to lose him, but the man in the truck just kept up and followed after her.
Hoping this was all in her imagination, she began nervously checking her rear-view mirror. Each time he was there, determined it seemed to follow her wherever she went.
The lady began to panic, but having left her phone at work, she was unable to call the police. Eventually she decided to pull off the highway to try and find shelter at a well-lit gas station. Again, the truck seemed to be stalking her as she began hunting for a place to stop and get help.
Eventually she found a station, parked, got out of the car and began screaming for dear life. Just then she noticed the man getting out of the truck and charging full-steam towards her.
She prepared for the worst.
But just before he reached her, he darted for the back door of her car. The man flung open the door and pulled a man out of the back seat. It turned out, the man had snuck into her car earlier in the day with malicious intentions. The truck driver had somehow spotted the man as he casually glanced in front of him on his evening route.
Sometimes, the person trying to help us looks like the person most wanting to hurt us. The story begs a question: who is trying to hurt us and who is trying to help us? And do we sometimes confuse them?
Stuart Strachan Jr.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our quotes page on Blindness. Don’t forget, sometimes a great quote is an illustration in itself!