The Emperor’s New Clothes, a classic adaption from a 13th-century Indian fable was immortalized by Hans Christian Andersen first published in the early 19th century. The story is about an emperor who cares more about his appearance and posturing, hires two weavers, who to satisfy his vanity promise to make him the most elegant clothes worthy of an emperor that can only be seen by worthy men.
When the emperor parades before his subjects in his new “clothes,” everyone applauds pretending to admire the excellent work of art and also proving themselves worthy of their positions. The emperor finally realizes that he was naked all the time when a child from the crowd cries out exposing the mockery.
Just like this vain emperor, we all have several blind spots within us that are invisible to our minds, and we spend all our lives wearing similar invisible “clothes.” For some it’s vanity or pride, for others, it’s arrogance and superiority. And other countless types. Blind spots can be obvious to everyone but ourselves. At the same time, we may have some blind spots that are not even visible to others and ourselves. You may “see” them through the results of your lives.
Blind spots can be self-ignorance or plain denial. It’s not surprising that most of us attribute fate or luck or others responsible for our current state. It’s sad that we are never taught to be aware of our blind spots during our formative years, let alone remedy them. The good news is that we don’t have to live a sub-optimal life forever. No matter at what phase of your life we are in, we are allowed to make the most of what we were handed with. Remember every kid gets the same crayons, its what they do defines what they become. It’s liberating to become aware of our blind spots, as it opens up new possibilities in our lives. We get to renew the relationship with ourselves and others, become more effective using our gifted or trained abilities, and life becomes more purposeful as you get used to living to it’s fullest.
My personal experience as I started working on my blind spots, is that I have become more respectful of others and myself. I am extra self -aware of my thoughts, feelings, communication and actions. I have become emotionally stronger, and am driven to improve myself, and possibly share my learning with my kids. I have started my journey, and I have a long way to go. I think I will have to keep going, as the journey for self-improvement can never find a destination. The end of life is the destination. I will have the satisfaction of having realized by shortcomings and tried to overcome them. Will I be entirely successful? Only time will tell.
Let’s first explore a bit more about the blind spots. I have come to realize that there are two types of blind spots.
Behavioural Blind Spots: Blind spots visible to others but not ourselves. For instance, we may habitually speak over other people without our knowledge or awareness. If we are doing it consciously, then that is plain rude.
Mental Blind Spots: Blind spots invisible to both others and ourselves. For instance, if you or someone you know have had a few unsuccessful marriages, then it’s a tell-tale sign that there are some blind spots to be explored.
Either we can remove the blinders and live to our potential or risk parading naked with our invisible clothes on. Knowing you are wise, I invite you to explore your limitations and give yourselves and others the gift you and others rightfully deserves.
In the following blogs, we will cover each in some details. Stay tuned. For now, I would like you to give it some thoughts.
Success to you!