blogitto ergo sum

October 23, 2011

#198 – Blinded by our Vision

Filed under: life matters,oops & ahas,see, absorb, enjoy — yael [ya-el] wagner @ 17:07
Tags: ,

Try their vision for a change

“Me? I’m objective, open-minded, I see things as they are,” “Me? “before passing judgment on someone else, I check my own behavior, assumptions…”  “i am my least forgiving objective judge, most demanding critique.”  Yes, sure, it’s all true.  In theory.

The truth is that we love being right.  The fact that we may be wrong is the last one we’d consider.

First, it was this great TED Talk delivered by Kathryn Schultz.  Remember #183-fallor ergo sum?  From the “mental templates” that dictate what we perceive and how we process our experiences all the way to the “it’s not me, it’s never me, it’s you, you, you.”

You think I exaggerate?  Think again.

Here’s a story I heard at my hair dresser.  Speaker is an Israeli mom, relatively new to the US.  “My son was invited to a birthday party for the first time, at a classmate’s home.  I was happy and a bit concerned.  What kind of gift should we buy?  How much money are you suppose to spend?  What is expected?  Acceptable?  We bought a gift.

The party went well, all was good and finally we got to the part of opening the gifts.  “Wait,” called out the Birthday mother.  “Wait a minute.”  She run and came back with a pen and a notepad, and as the gifts were open, she was taking notes.  I was taken aback.

Yes, I know of all those who keep a track of what x gave to them for Passover, wedding, holiday… who sent shanna tova card/ecard…  but that’s adults’ world.  I couldn’t believe they start it here, in the US, so early.  My son is not even 6 YO and the compete, compare, record is already taking place?!  Not a good start to our settling down here.  That night we had a talk with our kids, telling them that the culture here is different, we need to adjust, get used to it…  we may find of it very different, and that’s OK.

Within the week, a thank you note arrived.  My son’s gift was mentioned, as was how special it was…  and I blushed in shame.  How was I to know that the doting mother was taking notes for thanks?!”

tell me your blindness and i'll tell you what you are

One vision lead to discomfort, concern, offense…  unhappy time.  A different vision would have saved that mother lots of heart ache over “what have I done, what kind of place did I bring my family to?”

At least this blindness was short lived, very temporary.  That’s easy.  What about the more serious blindness by our vision which is part of our life that we don’t know about, until it explodes in our face or becomes too late to fix?

Few months ago, I read one of my blog posts at the Art Extravaganza.  Seeing people faces and body language as I share pieces of my world is a great experience, in more than the predictable ones.  To my surprise, one of the listeners, an acquaintance of mine, approached me post reading and said that he is happy he got a chance to hear me, as it showed him a side of me he didn’t think existed.  Skipping the [probably negative] urge to dwell of what his previous perception was, I fully enjoyed the fact that here’s a guy that is willing to dismiss one perception upon receiving additional information, and replace it with a better one.  Definitely not blinded.

I have a dear friend, which I love very much.  She came to my life with great credentials, so my vision was all happy and positive.  Unfortunately, her vision didn’t include be prepared to be teased note.  Accepting teasing as a sign of friendship, caring, liking, even when delivered with straight face was totally out of her expectations.  unbeknown to me.

Two years into our knowing each other, after a delicious dinner she [and her husband] cooked, with the friend that introduced us present, it turned out that for the longest time she was POSITIVE that I didn’t really like her.  Every teasing was received literally instead of getting first turned around 1800, and then processed.  In her life vision, those who tease me must dislike me, think low or bad of me.

My vision, on the other hand, includes, I like you, think good of you, we are friends, I can tease you; you can and should tease me back…

When the perceptual blindness was brought to light it was awkward first, embarrassing second, and laughing at last.  Still is.  The hard learning I got from this?  I cannot [should not!] assume that one’s endearing acts are always received this way.  Be careful!

The most dangerous, most costly blindness is the “it’s about me” blindness.  The ability to remove self from the center of an event processing gives one an amazing ability to see an event closer to reality, as it really was.

someteims a CARPET is more than a carpet

Years ago, I organized a wine tasting course in the company I was working for.  For five weeks, every Thursday night, 12 of us gathered at the company’s best conference room, and enjoyed the teaching, tasting, and pairing, delivered by Barry Saslov.  The course, which was my first serious attempt to appreciate wine beyond I like you, I like you not, was a great success.  On one such Thursday night, a wine bottle broke, its rich red content spilling all over the carpet.  As the organizer, it was my duty to alert the facility manager to the accident.  His overreaction took me by surprise, as he was the nicest guy, calm, cheerful, and always great to work with.  Fortunately, as I was getting ready to lash and express my opinion of the importance of cleanliness of rugs vs. the wellbeing and moral of employees, i found myself thinking of the world from his point of view.  For a second there, my vision/perception blindness was lifted.  And with it came the insight.  My success was measured, among other things, by the moral of my peers, their wellbeing and how it’s cared for by the company.  His success, on the other hand, was measured by the wellbeing of the facility, including the conference room’s rug.  My mocking him of getting so upset about a stupid rug would have destroyed our relationship, making it hard for us to collaborate on my next project.  Much more importantly, it would have meant that I disrespect his job and responsibilities, which wasn’t even remotely the case.

It was a very long apology, with a firm commitment to be more careful in the future.

Can I claim that my vision never blinds me?  Of course not; no one can!  We have beliefs about ourselves and the world that often blind us from seeing things as they are, as we want to maintain our perceptions.  We hate change, and that includes changing your opinion of me, my perception of you.  What you, I, anyone can do is to try and open our eyes, inner eyes included, to the events as they roll, maybe replay them later, from the POV of the other.  A belated apology is an experience of amazing learning, cleansing and building.  As one who’ve done it once or twice, it brings peace.

[Sadly, some people will rather stick to their vision, refuse to test it, adjust it…accept your apology.  for them, being right and blind supersedes being open, may it  be eyes, mind, perception, and vision.   Such is life, it’s not about you, you know]

Set your vision free of your desired and chosen blindness!

related reading, for inspiration if you will, may be found HERE.



  1. […] need to be right and smart came miles ahead of our friendship.  I called it and blogged it as “blinded by our vision,” recognizing that many of us, too often, let our predispositions dictate our perception, even […]

    Pingback by #203 – enter 2012, i’ve been waiting for you. go away 2011. « blogitto ergo sum — December 31, 2011 @ 19:43 | Reply

    • That’s a smart answer to a tricky quisteon

      Comment by Delores — August 26, 2014 @ 12:48 | Reply

  2. Superb blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message
    boards that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

    Comment by moscow hotel — April 22, 2013 @ 07:00 | Reply

    • Thank you for reading, enjoying, and complimenting. What a great way to start the day. Trying to answer your question, I doubt there is a single blog or website that is all about perceptions and predispositions. I’d guess that some business coaching sites and blog may touch the topic, can’t think of one that will focus solely on it. Please DM me via Twitter (@yaelol) and we could discuss the specifics of what you are looking for.

      Thank you again,


      Comment by yael [ya-el] wagner — April 22, 2013 @ 07:30 | Reply

  3. Hey there! I’ve been reading your weblog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!

    Comment by forexpros — May 9, 2013 @ 07:43 | Reply

    • Thank you so much. this is so encouraging. ashamed to admit i haven’t posted recently. back to writing i go. and my many-many thanks.

      Comment by yael [ya-el] wagner — May 11, 2013 @ 22:23 | Reply

  4. Howdy this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by — July 2, 2013 @ 14:31 | Reply

    • WordPress offers numerous free blog templates, all user friendly. I don’t code, and figured out the stuff i needed by trying, reading FAQs, and implementing WordPress advice. It works. I can only praise and compliment WordPress for their service and support.

      Comment by yael [ya-el] wagner — July 3, 2013 @ 20:25 | Reply

  5. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so
    much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.

    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but
    instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
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    Comment by volcano vaporizer review — July 3, 2013 @ 19:48 | Reply

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