Close your eyes. What do you see? Nothing? Let me ask you a different way: Close your office door. What’s happening outside your four walls? You’re not sure, you say? The fact is, when you live behind closed doors; when you build walls around yourself; when you’re close-minded and tune out others’ viewpoints; and when you act like a know-it-all, ignoring input and feedback, the result is the same. You’re living in the dark.
If you think tuning others out is positive, in any way, you’re sadly mistaken. When you avoid feedback, shut down debate, or fail to request input, it’s counterproductive.
What you don’t know can hurt you.
Do You Know Your Blind Spots?
Are you stifling your ability to learn and make progress? How many of these 10 barriers sound familiar?
Do you resist feedback?
Are you too busy to listen?
Are you a know-it-all?
Do you seek input from limited sources?
Do you shut people out to protect your feelings?
Do you get defensive when people offer feedback?
Do you seek input only from people with status?
Do you let your ego stop you from requesting input?
Do you surround yourself with “yes” people?
Do you think negative feedback is another way of saying, “You failed”?
Open Your Eyes and Open Your Mind
If you’re living in the dark, it’s time to get a reality check. Here are 10 tips to enlighten you.
Get personal feedback. Treat feedback as a gift, not a slap in the face. If you’re blind to your flaws, you can’t address them.
Be open to fresh new ideas. Solicit suggestions from everyone — not just those closest to you or of a certain rank. You never know where the next great idea will come from.
Address your weak points. Request positive and negative feedback. Positive comments feed your ego, negative ones enable you to improve your game.
Get the scoop, firsthand. Get your input directly from the horse’s mouth rather than from secondhand sources. Surveys can be misinterpreted and don’t always tell the whole story.
Build stronger relationships. Drop your defenses and let people get to know the real you. Even though walls keep bad people out, they never let good people in.
Make informed decisions. Encourage debate. Seek diverse opinions, embrace vigorous discussion, and examine all sides of an issue before taking a stand.
Obtain objective information. Seek the truth. Don’t let people with a personal agenda or bias distort your views. Challenge the information you receive. Confirm its accuracy before you draw conclusions.
Gain a new perspective. See things in a new light. Don’t allow mental filters to distort your thinking, influence your feelings, or impact your behavior. Have an open mind.
Think for yourself. Kick the tires before you get swept up by groupthink. Ask questions, scrutinize the facts, question the rationale, and examine whether people’s intentions are honorable. Don’t follow blindly.
Venture outside your comfort zone. Embrace positive change. Don’t get complacent by succumbing to a “we’ve always done it this way” mentality.
Never Live in the Dark Again
How can you address weaknesses if you’re blind to your flaws? How can you have meaningful relationships if you build walls around yourself? How will you know if your ideas are sound if you don’t let people challenge them? The only difference between being uninformed and misinformed is that one is your choice and the other is theirs.
When you resist input, ignore feedback, select ideas from the chosen few, and live behind closed doors, you’re going nowhere fast. You’re stifling your ability to learn, destroying your ability to grow, and shutting your eyes to reality. Some folks believe that if you don’t know your weaknesses, you don’t have any. The reality is, closing your eyes to problems doesn’t make them disappear. They’re right under your nose even if you’re unwilling to face them. Therefore, don’t fear what you may learn about yourself, worry about what you don’t. Are you living in the dark? It’s time to see the light.
Do You Live in the Dark?
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