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How I Overcame My Blind Spot – Escaping the ‘Safe Circle’

SideStix_Blind Bias

My blind bias and the bias of others has been weighing on my mind.

How do I change my perception about the way I see things? How do we escape the same old blind spots we have in our daily lives?

It’s simple. All we need to do is be deviant for the day. Or, perhaps I should say “different”.

Recently, we did a little office experiment. We had Bart put a bright dot on his forehead from the time he got up in the morning until the time he went to bed that night, just living his daily life. The world started to look and respond to him differently; and he began to see the world differently too.

You have put yourself in the position of not fitting into the norms, essentially bucking the expectations of others around you, to change how you view life. No matter how silly this seems, it can be so liberating.

Why, liberate your perceptions?

Because you don’t have to think or be what everyone else expects you to think or be. You can stand outside the safe ‘circle of sameness’ in your life and learn to see more of what others may be missing in their views on life.

Becoming disabled or going through anything devastating that shakes your world can give you a similar experience. You learn that there are greater vistas for viewing your life and challenging your implicit biases – that many of us don’t realize we have until something changes that view.

It’s a human innate desire to push out the unfamiliar. It’s our brain’s way of taking short cuts and working efficiently with information it already knows. Most of us live our lives around ideas and people that support our view. We create ‘safe circles’ by developing blind spots to bias. If left unchecked or unchallenged, over time these views and thoughts can create a rut, that becomes a valley so deep we cannot see over the banks.

Our blind spots propagate ignorance to new knowledge. We develop a fear of being open to differences. If it doesn’t match what we like, we reject it.

Blind Auditions

Blind auditions were created to help orchestras eliminate gender bias in the 70-80s. Candidates would perform behind the curtain, for judges to evaluate. As result, this process of not seeing the performer’s gender, increased the number of female performers from 5%-36% in the orchestra over the next three decades.

Often it takes devastating change in life, like a disability, hard diagnosis, or a great disappointment to begin to climb out of the very deep valley we create in our daily choices. But, as hard as change and loss can be, a new vantage point can give you new meaning and eliminate old blind spots.

Blind Disabling by Culture

Certainly, our recent AOM Michael Laurent has experienced this through his own disability and in his life of travel. As an amputee born in France, who is currently assistant coach for a Russian Football team, Michael has faced many challenges in his career.

Throughout his experiences in Canada, Russia, and France, Michael has observed some key differences. His story tells how one culture’s “blindness” towards disability differs from the next.

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