Why do we seem to have answers to everyone else’s dilemmas, but when we look in the mirror, we are often at a loss?
Welcome to “Blinker Syndrome.”
Have you ever noticed that you can see faults in others, have answers to their problems, and honestly believe that you know exactly what they should be doing with their lives?
Sometimes, you can see all that even while your life is falling apart.
Ever wonder why? It is because you have fallen victim to what I call “Blinker Syndrome.”
Picture it: your hometown, sometime in the last few days. You were driving down the street when you realized that the car in front of you has its left blinker on. After passing several side streets, you realize that the driver is not going to be turning; he simply does not realize that his blinker is on.
You, however, are very aware that his blinker is on. As a matter of fact, you begin to focus on the blinker.
As you pass several more driveways and cross streets, the blinker begins to irritate you. It irritates you to the point of you feeling the need to say something.
Typically, what comes out is an arguably intelligent comment such as, “turn your stupid blinker off, you dork!”
You do not merely say the words, though. You actually shout them…to yourself…in your closed car.
This goes on for as long as the person is in front of you. Nothing else about that person matters at that moment — they could be an amazingly talented or intelligent person, they could have just saved a puppy who was about to get hit in the middle of the road, they could have just found a cure for some disease. But none of that matters. Right now, they are just the a**hole who can’t figure out his blinker has been on unnecessarily for three minutes and it is driving you insane.
So…what does this have to do with personal development? Everything!
You see, when a person has his blinker on, everyone around them can see it clearly. The only person who cannot see the blinker is the person driving.
In other words, we can see everyone else’s blinkers all day long. Not only that, but we often feel compelled to comment on them saying things such as, “what is he thinking?” or “why would she do that, is she crazy?”
It leads us to falsely believe that we know what everyone else should be doing, because THEY do not know what they should be doing and, of course, they are always doing the wrong thing!
What is the problem with that?
You end up spending a lot of time and energy focusing on everything outside of yourself and very little time improving yourself. You are convinced everyone else’s blinkers are annoying the hell out of you, but spend little to zero time becoming aware of your own blinkers that drive everyone else crazy (which, in turn, makes it really difficult for you to get anywhere worth going).
You consistently get in your own way without even realizing that it’s you doing it.
Those who spend their time looking for the faults in others usually make no time to correct their own. (Art Janak)
Doing that creates stress for yourself.
When you focus on other peoples’ blinkers, they will always annoy you. When you shift your focus to your own blinkers, it puts you in a place of choice and control. YOU can choose to turn off your own annoying blinkers (awareness + behavior change = awesomeness). But you cannot turn off other peoples’ blinkers (without seeming like a real jerk).
So, why are you getting all worked up over them? That is your choice.
If you are trying to change other people, you are wasting A TON of time and energy. Stop it and work on yourself!
Here is one action step you can take right now to begin this process.
Without self-awareness, it is impossible to change anything.
Pay attention today and become aware of your own blinkers. What do you do that consistently irks people or turns them off or makes them not want to answer the phone when they see your name on caller ID? Once you have awareness, you have the ability, and often the motivation, to shift quickly.
Is this blinker serving you? Is it not? Is it helping you get closer to something you want? Is it pushing what you want farther away from you?
Being honest with yourself about your own blinkers will help you to be the person that others want to deal with, regardless of the situation. You will not only feel more in control and less stressed, but others will seek you out because you help them feel the same way.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)
And if you honestly cannot see your blinkers, ask someone else; they will always be happy to point them out.
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