By: Tanvi Maharaja
If you have taken driving lessons, you may remember the untiring emphasis on checking your blind spots. I remember my instructor being intentionally unscrupulous with his “constructive” criticism of my driving skills when it came to blind spot checks. Which is why,I hear his nagging voice in my head every time I do it! Needless to say, he was a great instructor, although it did not seem like so at the time.
Similarly, I am learning to be aware of various blind spots that may exist in my personal space as I maneuver through my daily routine. These usually show up as uncalled for assumptions and hidden biases. As human beings, we have an uncanny knack for jumping to conclusions. We constantly, albeit subconsciously, judge people based on their tone, linguistic skills, attire, presentability, etc. It takes a vigilant mind to be continually aware of these possible blind spots and make sure none of them cause crashes of the spiritual and/or emotional kind. These crashes can cause lasting damage to the driver of these behaviors, as well as the victim of the crash.
If I asked you now, when was the last time you did something you are now embarrassed of, because you were clearly biased in your behavior in that situation? You may or may not remember this. But, if you have ever been a victim of prejudice, you will remember the encounter in vivid detail. That is because these can cause a dent to your confidence, to your self-esteem, to your very spirit that maybe hard to overcome. If we do not keep an eye on our behaviors, these biases, which initially maybe manifest as minor inflections of tone or a subtle change in body language, can seep deeper into our psyche to become embedded in our everyday interactions, and thereby, in our character. A little retrospection, a brief moment of metacognition, a little exercising of the inward eye can prevent this from turning us into a work of human tragedy.
So please remember to check your blind spots as you go zooming through life. Is there a biased belief or thought that you have forgotten to check and question? Is your behavior guided by an assumption you chose to make without checking or clarifying the facts? If so, watch out, lives could be at stake here.