How I Discovered My Bald (Blind) Spot
For years I had looked at myself in the mirror, and had not seen it: my bald spot. Throughout our lives, we look at ourselves daily, and we don’t see this either: our blind spot.
So this is how it happened…
I rarely shop for clothes. Like most guys, this is not my favorite hobby. Every few years, I will wander into a department store, usually only because I have to go to the mall for something else—like to visit the Apple store for instance. This happened to me recently, and a sign caught my eye advertising suits for $100.
I stopped in and tried on a dress jacket. Like most people I suppose, even if we have average appearances, we examine ourselves in the mirror as we are trying on new clothes. And for a moment, we may imagine we are a suave model. We give ourselves that serious, mysterious look in the mirror, as if we are on the cover of a magazine.
It was one of those moments: I stood in front of a three-sided mirror, gazing straight ahead, carefully admiring my reflection. Then I turned to the side mirror to glance at my profile. And I saw it. I froze. I just stood there in disbelief, getting a closer look. No, no, no, I thought. No way. I cannot have a bald spot. I look at myself in the mirror every day, and I’ve never seen this kind of balding.
Having grown up with a bald dad, I always thought if I were to be bald, I would like for it to happen with a receding hairline—not the circle on top of your head, what I refer to as the helicopter pad.
I was beyond surprised. I had a mixture, of sadness, disappointment, and a realization that I was getting older. But then it struck me, how could I have missed it? This must have been there for years. Barbers, brothers, friends—how could everyone neglect to tell me about it? I guess that’s how it goes with bald spots. Everyone sees it, but no one wants to tell you, you have one. They think you must already know. And if you don’t know, they don’t want to be the one to point it out.
I believe that’s how it goes with blind spots as well. Many see it, but no one wants to tell you you have one. They assume you know. And if you don’t, they don’t want to be the one to reveal it to you.
How can you discover your blind spot?
We rarely think we have a blind spot. Since we can’t see it, it’s almost as if it does not exist to us. And that is precisely the definition of a blind spot. Blind spots undermine what we do and weaken our progress. They have the potential to hijack our destinies.
If we are to identify and overcome our blind spots, we must have a robust strategy in place. Here is what I do:
- I make it a habit to have a bi-annual evaluation with those in my inner circle. We evaluate each other. One of the questions I ask them to answer for me is this: “What do you see, that I don’t see?”
- People are reluctant to tell you about areas in which you need improvement—especially those you don’t see for yourself. How do you remedy that? You have to invite people to tell you. But here is the trick, you have to invite them consistently. And you have to make sure you are not only inviting them with your words, but also with your body language. So if you say, “Tell me about the areas you see that I am terrible at…especially those that I am unaware of,” but you have a mean frown on your face, people may interpret that you really don’t want to hear it.
- Outside of my professional inner-circle, I also ask close family members to comment.
Unlike my bald spot, often when people show me a blind spot, I don’t see it. I don’t understand it or I simply don’t agree with it. My first reaction is to protest loudly or internally. My natural reaction is to dismiss the comment I hear. But I don’t dismiss it, because by definition, this is my blind spot. I know that sometimes I just cannot see it, at least at that point in my life journey.
But while I don’t dismiss it, I also don’t blindly apply it if it does not connect with me. It has to resonate with me before I can do something about it. So what to do? I write it down in my journal and marinate it in my mental “crock pot.” Sometimes for months. Sometimes for years. If I trust those who said it, then I do myself a favor and continue keeping it in my awareness.
I hope these ideas helped you a little in thinking about this important area in your personal development journey. I wish you the best as you bravely tackle these hidden crevices that undermine your potential.
Question: Would you consider asking 3-5 people in your inner circle to candidly tell you what they see in you, that perhaps you don’t see? I look forward to reading your feedback in the comment section below.
For Further Reading: