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Blind Spots

April 17, 2012

Posted in: Performance

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I drive a big ‘ol black 2003 Z71 suburban.

Every day when I take the kids to school I have to pull into a funky intersection. It’s wide, it’s strangely dynamic in that you have turn lanes from both directions, heavy pan American traffic moving both ways, big trucks, semi trailer trucks – and kids with school permits – all at the same time. Once in a while it’s foggy. Just yesterday it was so foggy that you could not see more than 50 yards ahead of you and even then the tail lights in front of you were becoming extremely opaque, just starting to disappear in the mist.

Pulling back onto that highway is tricky with all of these things going on, but what’s even more alarming is that on more than one occasion, I have started to move out into that dynamic soup of traffic and with just a split second to spare, I see a vehicle just entering my line of vision. I didn’t see him half a second ago, but now when he’s in front of me passing through the intersection, I can not believe that I didn’t see him. It’s a huge 18 wheeler, or something big, like an SUV, or worse, a small compact car, one of those tin cans the kids drive. I just pause for a sec, have that little pit in my stomach and then I really, really start to look for traffic – even more than I thought I was doing before I just about T-boned the tin can. How many of us have had just that near miss?  Or, even worse, we’ve ventured out onto that road with sad but real consequences.

Why? I realized he was in my blind spot.

In my big ‘ol black 2003 Z71Suburban the blind spot seems to hide a larger area than I realize. At one moment it seems like the road is clear, there’s nothing in my way, and I have my intentions to pull onto my determined way, the next, I am moments away for a completely different, possibly deadly reality.

Every car has a blind spot.

Every one of us has our own blind spot, too.

Two important lessons that I think we need to remember when it comes to our own personalities – each and every one of us need to increase our awareness of the our own blind spots and the second is to put into practice safer driving habits in our personal relationships.

The first lesson about blind spots to remember is this:  when I just about T boned the tin can on the highway by the school, I should not think to myself, it’s the intersection’s fault, or it was the tin can driver’s fault – he shouldn’t have been there, or they shouldn’t have made this highway so complex, or they shouldn’t allow anyone else on this road when I’m driving. How stupid is that? But the truth is, we think that way in our relationships, we feel that it’s “our road” and you shouldn’t be here, or your plans or your desires or your motives have no right to be in the vicinity of mine. That kind of thinking happens at work, with our contemporaries, it happens in our schools, our churches, our lives, our marriages. I have my map. I have my intention, I have my road to travel – stay off the road and if I tee bone you, it’s your fault, not mine. That thinking is not only wrong in our relationships – it is very, very deadly. Consider how the other drivers would approach the road if they knew you were on it with that attitude – now how many have that kind of feeling knowing that you’re the one in charge, or you’re the other part of the relationship and you drive as if the other one wasn’t even there? Turn that around and ask yourself that same question – especially is you have your strong desire to get somewhere and someone else thinks that you’re in the way and you’re the problem. Doesn’t feel so good, does it?

The blind spot isn’t at that intersection. It isn’t just with certain drivers, or certain types of vehicles. It isn’t with everything else. It is solely with you.

The blind spot is your own, personal blind spot.

It doesn’t matter, you may be in town, on the freeway, going through a drive through, at the mall. Every where you go, your blind spot goes with you.
Knowing that about yourself, about your driving habit in how you relate to others. If you’re the stronger type of personality, guess what, you’ve got a blind spot to those who are meeker or more gentle. If you have a more dramatic, live out loud kind of personality, your blind spot can easily be taking the spotlight from others. If you’re the football star on your high school team, your blind spot could be the kid who sits alone in the cafeteria – every day. And if you don’t recognize your blind spot, you’ll be blind the the colleague in the conference room who doesn’t get recognized as you advance in your career. If you’re attractive, your blind spot could be with those who maybe struggle with self esteem.

Pay attention to the road of life, and look for the others that are on the road with you. Look both ways, then look again, giving others the right of way, when you can.

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