What Do You See?

Bill Abbate

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Can you imagine what it would be like to lose even a little of your eyesight? But what about the other kind of sight you possess, your insight? Can you lose it as well?

While you can go to an optometrist for an eye checkup and get a prescription for glasses, contacts, or corrective surgery, there is no equivalent for checking and correcting your insight. Or is there?

Let’s see if we can take some lessons from those who cannot see with their eyes yet possess the ability to see more than many of us who are not blind.

The blind leading the blind and sighted

An example of a blind person with extremely keen insight is Helen Keller. Some claim she was the blind leading the blind and sighted. A famous quote of Keller’s was:

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

Keller accomplished far more during her life than the vast majority of us ever will who have eyesight. She lost her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months. Yet that did not stop her from becoming a person of significance in the world. A few of her accomplishments include being:

  • The first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree.
  • The author of 12 books
  • A prominent political and social activist
  • A leading member of the American Foundation for the Blind
  • A world-renown speaker
  • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964
  • Ranked by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people of the twentieth century
  • An inspirational icon for millions across the world to this day

Keller accomplished far more than this short list, but for the sake of brevity, we will leave it at these. I can’t imagine achieving a fraction of what Keller did in her lifetime, with or without eyesight and hearing!

If you wish to study Keller’s amazing life, I suggest starting with her autobiography, The Story of My Life, first published in 1903.

Insight

How do you develop insight? Let’s start by looking at the definition of insight from the Oxford Languages dictionary.

Insight ( noun) - the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.

Since insight is about two potentially complex subjects, a person or thing, and because each of us can learn, the possibility of developing a great depth of understanding exists. It could be gaining deeper insight about your spouse or a person in history, such as Christ. Or it could mean creating a deeper understanding of things like various igneous rock types or a broad subject such as engineering or psychology.

The great thing about the human mind is that it can gain great insight over time. It only takes a bit of studying, learning, asking the right questions, and giving them the necessary thought.

Make it personal

If you wish to develop your insight, you need an open mind, the ability to learn, and time. Without these, gaining greater insight into people or things will be difficult to do at best and impossible at worst.

Why not start with the person you know best, yourself! To uncover how developed your insight is and where you can enhance it, begin by asking yourself the following questions.

  • Am I able to keep an open mind, read, and learn to listen to develop a new and deeper understanding of myself and those to whom I am close? If you have already made up your mind about a person or a subject and cannot start with an open mind, you shut off your ability to see (uncover) more. An open mind is a must for developing insight of any kind.
  • Can I consider other people’s perspectives? While in line with keeping an open mind, developing many perspectives about a subject is critical to gaining more insight. Without this ability, your world will be much smaller than it could be otherwise. The subject of perspective-taking is well worth studying.
  • Do I know the difference between my needs and wants? Have you worked on developing an understanding of what you want (something nice to have, yet you could do without) versus what you need (something you must have to live and thrive)?
  • Do I understand the deepest sources of how I view myself and my abilities? Have you developed insight into your innermost being – understanding your self-imposed limitations and strengths? Have you examined the assumptions you make and their impact on your life?

Final thoughts

While the above questions will help you learn where you are and develop greater insight, they are only the beginning of this life-changing journey. Carefully consider your answer to each question. These answers will help you begin to develop greater insight. It takes work, time, and effort to develop your insight further, but I assure you it will be worth it! The answers will take you to new places, literally changing the trajectory of your life.

I suggest you lean on Helen Keller’s insight and enlist someone to do this work with you.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Remember this:

“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)

And never forget:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller (1880-1968)

I challenge you to sit in a quiet place with your diary and perhaps someone close to you and tackle at least one of the above questions. The only thing that can stop you from beginning the work of gaining insight and molding your life into the creation you genuinely desire is you!

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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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