Seeing The Unseen in the World

Bill Abbate

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Are you aware you see the world in two ways? It is true. One way you see the world is through your eyesight. Light reflects from objects providing images projected on the retina, sending them to your brain. But what about the other way you see? What about the way you "see" from within your mind?

This second way of seeing, insight, provides you with more than images from your eyes alone. It provides you with understanding and the ability to make meaning of life and all that is in it.

When your eyesight is not clear, you can visit the optometrist and get a prescription for eyeglasses to correct your vision to 20/20. But how do you correct this other vision? Your Insight.

Is there a mental equivalent to glasses that can help you see more clearly with 20/20 vision in your mind? Let's delve into this question to find out.

What do you see?

What do you see when you look at the world? How about other people? Are you seeing your reality or theirs? Do you only see their outward appearance when you look at a person, or do you see more? To view them as a person, as an invaluable living being, requires far more than eyesight alone.

Almost everyone knows it is far better to consider who a person is by what is inside them rather than their appearance. Yet we too often judge people by how they look, not who they are. Or by their outward age and not who they have become or are becoming.

Although someone without eyesight does not see with their eyes, they often see very clearly with their mind. Many of the blind can see things in their mind those with sight often miss. They rely on insight rather than eyesight. Do you not find it true that many who have eyesight see little more than what is right in front of us?

How to see more

Those who cannot see with their eyes can possess wisdom beyond those with optical vision. One such person who was blind said:

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." Helen Keller (1880-1968)

That quote contains a great deal of insight! She also said:

"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Do you notice something about these two quotes from Helen Keller? What you "see" in them is both insight and wisdom. Wisdom and insight often go hand in hand.

What are some ways you can develop better insight and greater wisdom? There is little question one of the primary ways to enhance each is through perspective-taking. Enhancing your ability to take different perspectives directly influences your insight and wisdom.

Perspective

Developing greater insight and broadening perspective is best done by becoming curious and asking insightful questions. Each new perspective will not only bring more opportunities to grow, but it will also enhance your intellect and improve your life! Why not take on a life perspective like that in the following quote?

“When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It's all a matter of perspective.” Harvey Mackay (1930-present)
  • How is your inward sight? To bring it closer to 20/20, it helps to see and understand your motivations, behaviors, and self-inflicted limitations. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
  • · Am I able to listen and develop a new understanding of different things? When presented with new information on a subject, have you made your mind up so completely you shut down your ability to see (uncover and understand) more? Why not take on a subject you are firm about and strive to uncover new perspectives about it?
  • · Can I consider other people's perspectives? Ask yourself, "Am I so ingrained in my own opinions that I automatically reject other people's perspectives on _____________?" Why not tackle a controversial or sensitive topic like politics! To make it even more enlightening (and perhaps entertaining), find someone with an opposing view to work with on finding new perspectives for each of you!

· Do I understand the deepest sources of how I view myself and my abilities? Have I developed insight into my innermost being? Do I know and understand my self-imposed limitations and strengths? Have I examined any of the assumptions I make or take for granted and their impact on my life?

What is your answer to these questions? With each question, you can develop greater insight into yourself and how you view the world around you.

"There is none so blind as he who will not see. We must not close our minds, we must let our thoughts be free." Ray Stevens (1939-present)

Final thoughts

It takes effort to develop greater insight, but the impact and potential dividends paid in your life can be tremendous. Why not go to work on your perspective-taking abilities and benefit from the insights and wisdom it will provide. If you don't do it for yourself, at least do it for those you love.

I challenge you to tackle at least one of the above questions and begin the work of increasing and possibly correcting your insight.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes." Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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