“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns…things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns…things we don’t know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumseld
The ladies will be here in a couple of hours. I want to get the honey bun cake in the oven soon.
But I can’t find my mixer. I always keep it in the cabinet by the refrigerator. I open the cabinet door and look inside, but I don’t see it. I look elsewhere; I still can’t find it.
I open the cabinet again. I move things around with my hands.
And there it is. In plain sight. Why didn’t I see it the first time I looked?
There’s a reason. . . .
When We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know
We all have blind spots.
Blind spots are things that are true about us and around us, but we can’t see them. In some ways they protect us until we’re capable of seeing the truth. God doesn’t create us with perfect knowledge; we have to grow into it.
But blind spots quickly outlive their usefulness. They hurt not only us, but also those around us, if we don’t outgrow them.
Yet it’s not easy to know what we don’t know.
How can we wake up from our ignorance?
1. BE CURIOUS
Curiosity is a gift. Sometimes I forget to be curious when I think I’ve already figured out the best way to do something or I think I already know everything I need to know.
But there is always more to learn about what we do and why. Ask God for guidance. Stay open. Look deeper at your motives, at your actions, at your thoughts.
2. ASK QUESTIONS
A quick way to find out what we don’t know about ourselves is to ask someone else about us. Pray about who to ask. Others see us in ways we don’t see ourselves.
A close friend or partner can give us insights we’ve been blind about. The information they provide us is an invaluable mirror and a shortcut to greater clarity.
3. WATCH OTHERS
In addition to direct information about ourselves, we also can learn more about ourselves by learning about others.
Listen closer when others are talking. Read widely. See how others respond to situations compared to how we do.
The more we grow and learn about ourselves, the more we grow in relationships with others, too. Maturation contributes to a healthy, whole life.
The More We Look, the More We See
Only when I see my blind spots can I change them.
So where was the mixer the first time I looked in the cabinet?
It was in its spot. Front and center on the cabinet shelf.
But I had been looking for our white mixer. We’d had it for years. Until it finally quit working and we had to throw it away. And bought a black mixer.
The black mixer was sitting where the white mixer once sat. But because I was looking for the white appliance instead of a black one, I didn’t notice it until I was forced to take another look.
I’ll never be aware of all my blind spots. But I want to uncover more and more along the way.
The clearer we see, the more we can flourish.
Have you had any blind spots uncovered lately? Share in the comments.
If you want to read more about our hidden biases, start here with the series, “I just can’t see it! How to uncover hidden biases.”
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