Greetings!Wilful Blindness… Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril by Margaret Heffernan is a book I am reading this month.
What is it about? It’s about why we ignore the truth because it’s too painful, too embarrassing, too frightening to confront.
Problems arise when we use the same mechanism to deny uncomfortable truths that cry out for debate, action and change.
Why am I reading it? Because I often deny the truth when I choose not to look, not to question, not to challenge my own faults and failings.
Pick up your own copy of the book. I trust it answers some questions about some of your own uncomfortable truths that need to be challenged.
Stop Hiding Behind A Mask
Wilful Blindness – it seems it’s all around us but few question why when something is glaringly wrong.
From politics to corporations to teams. From families to friends to society. We don’t seem to be able to ask the hard questions.
Wilful Blindness – the term comes as a legal concept in the 19th century, when a judge said the accused had‘wilfully shut his eyes as connivance”.
In other words, the accused knew the truth about something but he kept his eyes shut.
Heffernan, the author of the book Wilful Blindness, writes about why we choose to keep ourselves in the dark.
What forces are there that make us deny the big threats that stare us in the face?
What, she writes, stops us from seeing that burying knowledge makes us so vulnerable when the truth finally comes out?
I am going to focus this concept confined to our own communication style and daily to-do-lists.
Why do we so regularly look in the mirror and cry: how could we have been so blind?
For example, we know why we must communicate better. We know that excellence in communication with care and meaning with our audience will win us the actions that we all need to win.
So given that we intrinsically know this knowledge, why do so few of us not sharpen and develop and transform our communication skills from blase and perfunctory towards excellence?
Is it laziness? Is it a couldn’t care less attitude? Is it a take me or leave it attitude?
Or is it Procrastination?
Now how about wilful blindness in our to-do-lists?
Here are a few reasons why you aren’t getting your tasks done. I am not having a go at you because I am also guilty of procrastination.
However, I am getting much better now as I know that I only have limited time. I have no more time than I’m getting, so I’d better do the most important things rather than indulging in wilful blindness to avoid doing the right things.
- Putting It Off – Someday doesn’t get those tasks done. Set a date and get those “put off” tasks done.
- Don’t Want to Do It – You may be avoiding the task because you find it unpleasant or even boring. It’s not a valid excuse. You will have to do many things in life that you don’t want to do. But if you set them as easy habits like brushing your teeth in the morning …. it’s a cinch.
- Forgot About It – If you are forever forgetting a task, then you need to make it visible. Get it onyour list. Put it where you can’t miss it. Write it on large Post It notes and stick them everywhere! Don’t let it hide in your someday “I’ll” list. Review your lists DAILY.
- Ignoring the Consequences – Undone tasks create more work for you. There are consequences. The costs can be in time, money, or missed opportunities. You WILL pay the price of not doing it.
Time to take off our blinders, and look ahead. Let’s stop wilful blindness from robbing us from our life’s greatest tasks.
Because the tasks add up to our reaching of goals, and without reaching our goals, we have missed our legacy.
I just don’t want to look in the mirror and scream,
“How could I have been so blind?”
What are your thoughts?