Blindspots

Author Spotlight with: Dr Matt Chalmers
August 22, 2019

Blind Spots: One dangerous thought pattern to fix that can derail even the most successful humans.

This is the sign at the entry point to The Conversation event and it’s displayed there every year to let attendees know, that it’s a safe place. 

When you enter the conversation circles, you’re outdoor under the stars around a fire, and no phones or social media or film crews are allowed. 

It’s an event for World changers and we cap it at 100, to make certain that we can breathe life into the lives in attendance. 

What’s a world changer? 

Our definition might be different than most. But the simplest way to put it is someone that has a focus not just on building wealth but in building others. The world changer understands that life isn’t just about them or in this moment. We equip world changers to think better by addressing critical topics in 4 specific conversation circles. 

One topic that has been the star of the show every year is blind spots. A blind spot can kill you or cause decisions rooted in fear, or protection  The end result? A life that goes against your calling instead of with the flow of it. 

An example of a blind spot rooted in wrong thinking would be: “ I’d better marry X or I’ll be alone the rest of my life just as my mother was.”Or; “I’d better seize this client, even though they’re low balling me and won’t pay my standard fee, because there might be a recession.”

Instead of valuing yourself and your worth in those examples above, you’d settle for less “just in case”. That’s a blind spot. When someone thinks that way they tend to see the world through a protection, or fear based filter.

One very common blind spot that we see is cognitive distortion. It is a biased way of thinking about ourselves or the world around us. 

This is a way of seeing something that isn’t rooted in reality. Cognitive distortion isn’t only seen in narcissists. Sometimes it’s a protective thought pattern rooted in defense mechanisms.

Other times it’s a pattern rooted in what if? Or a feeling of a lack of control. Chances are you can think of at least one person in your life who has this thought pattern, even if it’s subtle. Sometimes it’s the most brilliant thinkers. 

Pattern thinking can lead to destruction of friendships, rigid thinking, incorrect bias, projection of your beliefs into others, racism, and generalizations. 

“I’ll never settle down, because most marriages end in divorce,” or “all women are cheaters,” are two examples of cognitive bias. 

This type of thinking is wrong thinking, and can be corrected. 

For instance, when someone has continual conflict in relationships and can’t make a commitment, sometimes they’re telling themselves a false story about why it would never work. They engage in Negative predicting which is foretelling the future in a negative light, when the reality is that there are just as many reasons that things can actually go right!

They’re protecting their heart, from being broken when the outcome of a relationship might be joy. The same can be applied to business deals, business partners, and friends. 

Apply this concept to your politically extremist friends on social media who are holding steadfast like a rabid dog, onto their political beliefs. 

Some have already convinced themselves it will doom and gloom if their opposing party wins an election. For them, the world is over. That’s us versus them thinking that leads to division, when a simple mindset shift could change everything. 

So what’s the solution?

Step #1: Challenge your foundational beliefs, frequently. 

Identifying this blind spot is critical to fulfilling your legacy. Do you think right? Just know that even if you think right most of the time doesn’t mean you think right 100% of the time  

Step #2: Do you buy into group think? It’s hard not to when you’re mind is filled with continual  messages.

Example: “Teenagers are irresponsible,” is a blanket statement and mindset that could damage a relationship between a parent and child. 

Black and white thinking allows no middle ground or shades of gray and is an example of a cognitive distortion that is societal. 

Reprogram your thoughts. 

Vow to eliminate cognitive distortions and patterns of thought rooted in wrong thinking. 

For many, being right is more important than the facts or feelings of others, and then years later they may discover they weren’t right at all.

We all have differing triggers and drivers, but it’s important to know that just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s relevant to everyone else. 

You may believe the worlds problems are caused by a lack of money, empathy, or love while your best friend might hold the belief that the worlds problems are caused by division, evil, and racism.

Whose right? Perhaps you both are. Disagreement or debate is healthy but a filter that sees every situation or conflict through the same lens, isn’t. 

If you accuse someone of being a narcissist when they overlook your need, or don’t answer your text, or view the sales person as racist and ignoring you because they didn’t address you in the store, you may want to pause and reflect. A girl I know swears she didn’t get a promotion she deserved because she’s a woman. But what if there was someone better qualified? I can’t know the answer to that, but I know as a woman human, that sometimes someone else really is more qualified, or a better fit. 

Sure, sexism, bias and racism are prevalent throughout society. And so is wrong thinking based on our own personal bias and childhood wounds, experiences and confrontations. 

Wrong thinking is the biggest danger to your legacy.

What if everything is going to go just fine?

Challenge your perceptions. Thought patterns and mental filters change through a process called cognitive restructuring. By adjusting your automatic thoughts each day, you can change your behaviors. Luckily this is an instant process  once you identify your automatic negative thoughts, you can send them packing.

It’s like taking a deep breath and seeing the world a different way.

Tammy Kling
Tammy Kling
Tammy Kling is a best-selling author, TEDx Speaker, CEO of OnFire Books, and has Ghostwritten and edited 3,541 books and counting, including: The Compass, Freedom, and There’s More to Life than the Corner Office. Tammy’s latest book, WORDS is being used by the Ritz Carlton in their leadership training. For more from Tammy Kling, please visit tammykling.com and follow her on Twitter: @tammykling for the latest news and updates.