"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo by: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Blind Spots…..

Twice, while driving a rental car to a client meeting a few weeks ago, I almost caused an accident by not checking my blind spot. The SUV that I drive daily has a great option that lights up an arrow in my side-view mirrors when another vehicle is in my blind spot. The rental car did not. Avoiding the crashes, and once my heart rate calmed down, I continued to navigate spaghetti junction in Atlanta, realizing that I have become accustomed to (read “lazy”), looking for the arrow in my mirror rather than the potential of a vehicle out of sight beside me. This created an opportunity for M5T to consider blind spots that we may have in our lives.

1. Justification

How often do we justify our actions when we are trying to make our point with others, even when we know we are wrong? How often do we whitewash issues that should be black or white? The blind spot of justification can give us the sense of not being liable or culpable. We justify avoiding reality and responsibility. Justification makes excuses for our impulses, can overemphasis the good, and can highlight the harmful. It creates a blind spot for biased or closed-minded thinking and is typically an emotional response instead of a logical, principled act. We try to justify our knee-jerk decisions, when we should have paused and sought counsel before action. Often, we justify when we feel threatened, attacked, or judged by others; particularly when our beliefs and attitudes are challenged.

2. Procrastination

Oh, how this creates a blind spot. Guilty as charged your honor. Procrastination is resistance to complete (and more often than not, a failure to even start) something out of the fear of failure, or even the fear of success. Procrastination is a delay in putting off what is likely best for us. It is a blind spot that can be harmful and irrational. It breeds negativity when we want to feel good; particularly when we know if we finish what we are avoiding we will feel better. Procrastination is not only about tasks. It can be a delay in eliminating toxic people from our lives or making decisions about relationships that should have been made years ago. Blind spots from procrastination can also come from boredom. It is uncomfortable, frustrating, and can be emotionally painful. It takes willpower to want to overcome. It also takes increased self-worth, and a focus on the process versus the outcome.

3. Greed

Blind spots of greed can come from an urge to accumulate, to hold onto, to protect. It has roots, according to German philosopher Max Weber, in being deprived of something earlier in life. Greed is exhausting; can reduce or eliminate enjoyment of our relationships and things in life. It is an addiction of never having enough; a need to be seen, adored or loved. It is a blind spot with no end-point, or of never feeling good enough.

4. Accountability

Or more aptly, the lack of desire or willingness to be accountable, creates blind spots. The ups and downs of relationships affect our desire to be accountable to others. We struggle to be accountable because it requires vulnerability and letting go of pride and ego. It demands transparency that can reveal deep and long-held wounds. It takes being real with yourself and others. Blind spots occur when it is easier to blame others, or to negate our own actions. Blind spots can be created from the fear of penalty, retaliation, loss, confidentiality or of being judged. It can stem from a lack of confidence, a hidden story of shame, or resistance to change. Blind spots can come from a fierce individualism, or the lie we tell ourselves that we are the only one that has had certain experiences, feelings or thoughts in life.

5. Selfishness

Selfishness, in the negative sense, manifests itself through self-centeredness and often rudeness, unkindness, intimidation or insults. These blind spots can be coping mechanisms that are a result of either an over-inflated or under-inflated sense of self and worth. Selfishness separates relationships, creates avoidance, and is often unforgiving. Its blind spots are self-serving, take away from a servant’s heart, and is fueled by pride, and the illusion of, or the need for control. Human nature is such that we all can be selfish, yet there are times in life where we need to be selfish, to be Machiavellian, to protect our own emotions, interest or well-being. It requires an awareness and honesty of who we really are. Ayn Rand said: “to say ‘I love you’ one must first know how to say the I”. Energy is needed to balance a healthy perspective to allow yourself to invest in others, while equalizing to your own fulfillment… all the while avoiding the blind spots of self-centeredness and selfishness.

Here’s to a week of checking, being aware of, and correcting for your blind spots.

© 2019 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com. Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com