PPP016 E'en the blindest man can see
Poem; The blind men and the elephant by John Godfrey Sax, narrated by Lillian Davis.
I hope you enjoyed this poem, narrated by my daughter of 11. I can listen to it over and over again and each time my eyes opens up for my blindness towards a situations, where I only see a part of the picture and not the full picture. Maybe it is so close or dear to me due to the time in life when I was technically blind. I think blind people are more aware of their limitations than seeing people are and are more open to alternative views of the ‘’seemingly’’ obvious. Blind people have to rely MORE on their other senses and people’s descriptions of things and might ‘’see” more than the rest of us. I definitely experienced that my ‘’eyes’’ opened up for many other aspects of life during my struggle with vision.
After this poem, an elephant look different in my mind’s eye. I see a spear, snake, rope, wall, trees and fan. Previously I would argue that an elephant can look like that, but now I will agree. Yes, you can say an elephant is like a tree. The problem comes in when we think our opinion, our perspective of the situation is the only TRUE option out there. When we can embrace the notion that we might be blind for the bigger picture, we might be pleasantly surprised to get to know the beast better. The same in life. Is we are blind for the bigger picture, we are sometimes scared if we only experience one part of it.
Imagine you felt only the spear (tusk) of the elephant and got scared and ran away. You would never have experienced the cooling of the fan (ears). Or if you climbed up the rope (tail) and at the top you feel this rush of wind, not knowing it comes from a fan (ears), you might drop to the floor and run away. Or if you climb up the tree and expect the open expanse there, but now you have hit a wall, you might stop exploring and never see the snake or rope or spear.
Uncovering our blind spots we have in our lives, our marketing, our perception of the problem we are facing – all are critical to uncover for our success in life.
I want to share this story with you. My husband was leaving work on the Friday for the weekend, just before the long awaited planned trip to Israel with a group of men. We were so excited for this amazing opportunity and believed there was a reason for his going to Israel at this stage in his life. The week leading up to the trip was peppered with the most unusual things, I called it a roller coaster week that lead into a roller coaster month. It started the Wednesday, when the car I was driving suddenly had a problem of the back door not closing, the door could not close, because the lock did not want to keep the door in the closed position. No warning, it just happened. This was the first down. The Thursday I frantically searched for a place to help me, as I planned to use this car for a trip to coast with the children while daddy are in Israel. All the motor vehicle repair places were booked out. Eventually I found a place in our neighboring city that could help me on the following Monday, one day before my planned trip. I decided to buy the spare part so that it arrives in time for the repair. Imagine my shock when I realized the price for a car door lock! I was shocked, surprised, despondent and mad at the same time. The downward spiral continued. It cost an arm and a leg! We did not budget for this. A few minutes after reaching home, a client paid me – the amount was 99% the value of the door lock! Amazing! The roller coaster turned up! Friday morning I had a major breakthrough in my business (higher and higher the roller coaster goes) and while I was working hard, implementing the new ideas, I received a phone call from my husband – he was in a car accident, the car cannot drive anymore and he got hurt. Here we go down again. I phoned very good friends and they immediately took care of the children and helped me to reach my husband (as the other car’s door cannot close yet). A small turn upwards. The friend took me to my husband (an hour away from home), took us to the emergency center where we determine his wrist was broken and needed surgery. Down in the roller coaster. As my husband lies in emergency, another doctor walks past us, surprisingly he and my husband has met before. They met at the preparation meeting for going to Israel – an experienced orthopedic surgeon will be on the trip with my husband. Up we go in the roller coaster. Saturday my husband was operated on, Sunday released from the hospital and Monday, after our car’s door lock was repaired, he left on his trip to Israel. Ups and downs throughout this time. Tuesday a friend delivered a big bag full of goodies for us to enjoy on our holiday, including LOTS of biltjong (beef jerky) and sweets, what an up and blessing, but moments afterwards, our security gate stopped working, here we go down again. No one I phoned could help me, I had to wait for instructions from my husband form Israel to fix the gate….. Wednesday morning I managed to fix the gate, drive the 5 hours safely to my destination, go to bed early, just to be awaken by our security company telling us the alarm went off at home. Luckily nothing came from that at the end.
A lot of detail in this story, but I wanted to paint the up and down picture for you. Why is this happening, why, after 13 years driving to work and back has he never been in an accident, but just before this great opportunity something happens? During this time, I had to fight becoming despondent and want to give up. But then I realized, what is the bigger picture? I only see in part. When I am planning a surprise for my child, I hide a lot of things for him. He does not understand why he is not allowed to come with me to the shop. He is not allowed to eat some of the sweets I bought. He doesn’t understand why I spend less time with him. He might feel I forgot about him, I don’t treat him fairly. Meanwhile my child are not ‘’in’’ on the secret.
Many times in life the immediate things get us down, but I had to realize this is just the small details in the bigger picture. God is planning a great surprise for us. We need hope. We are blind for the bigger picute. That made it easier for me to manage the downs with hope and even excitement of what is around the next bend.
Another place I find the impact of blind spots are in conflict management. Each of us have our own perspectives, a wall, a snake, different parts of the elephant. Each perspective is true within the bit we are seeing, but different to the bit the other person is seeing. If both parties come to see each other’s viewpoints, we start to see the bigger picture and can appreciate the wonder of an elephant in its totality. Many times we are scared of conflict, but if we open up our minds to try to understand the other person’s perspective, we can actually open ourselves and the other parties’ eyes for something bigger and better.
Send me an e-mail: wilmien.wilmiendavisconsulting.co.za
My favourite books, which I can highly recommend